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The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu
Review by Mel Jacob
Angry Robot Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780857663320
Date: 29 October 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

The Deaths of Tao, an action-thriller, is a continuation of the Quasing saga begun in The Lives of Tao. Two factions of the Quasing, Prophus and Genjix, seek to defeat one another and determine whether their human hosts survive or become extinct. As they vie for control, their human hosts are often casualties. The Prophus await the development of deep space ships capable of returning them to their home planet. The Genjix strategy is to recreate on Earth the climatic conditions of Quasar, which would destroy humans.

When the Quasing first crashed on Earth, many died. Unable to tolerate the atmospheric conditions, the survivors were forced to integrate their essences into living hosts. Eventually as evolution progressed, they found humans satisfactory hosts. However, the Quasing eventually split over the best way to ensure their continued existence.

Each chapter contains a lead-in of a Quasing reminiscing about human and Quasing history. Throughout history, most famous personages carried a Quasing host. This volume follows the careers of human hosts Roen Tan, his wife Jill, and Enzo, a specially bred human host for Zoras, a Genjix.

The Genjix are near completing both their breeding projects and their climate transformation as well as wiping out the Prophus. Roen has tracked intelligence revealing their grandiose plans while his ex-wife Jill is managing the political situation in Washington for the Prophus. As Prophus hosts, both are in physical danger from Genjix agents.

A rebel and maverick, Roen is often in disgrace with the Prophus command. He continues his intelligence efforts, but also keeps track of Jill and interferes whenever she is threatened by Genjix agents. After the Genjix, led by Enzo, captures a special Prophus submarine and it’s crew, Prophus Command grudgingly accepts Roen may be right and assigns him to a team. It is going to Taiwan to check on how Genjix is getting its supplies for its project. Roen delays his departure to spend time with his son, Cameron. When he leaves, he is determined to return and spend more time with his young son.

Enzo is arrogant and determined to destroy all Prophus. A bully, he disobeys his Quasing, Zoras, and dishonors the Genjix by offering surrender conditions and then violating them. He defeats and eventually destroys the commander of the submarine and kills many of the submarine’s crew despite an agreement to take them prisoners.

Chu makes the reader sympathize with and root for Roen. Most readers will dislike Enzo and root for his destruction. The ending leaves open the possibility of a further sequel. As others have noted, the idea of aliens taking over humans is not new and has been used by other writers. Hal Clements used it in Needle and Stephenie Meyers in Host. Symbiotic presences in human hosts has proved popular in novels and stories.

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