by Marc D. Giller
Review by Mel Jacob
Spectra Mass Market ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553587876
Date: 30 October 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Marc Giller provides a fast-paced read in Prodigal as Lea Prism and Nathan Straka strive to fight evil and save the world from terrorists and an overzealous military. The Collective that runs the world consists of corporations and gangsters loosely molded on the Japanese underworld. Once a criminal and hammerjack, computer network junkie Lea seeks to annihilate her former friends. Action and violence drive her toward her goal of destroying the Inru and their chief agent Avalon. This novel picks up where Hammerjack left off.
Intelligence gleaned from many sources leads Lea and her elite team to Chernobyl. Now abandoned, its radiation screens activity there. Inru leaders plan to meet in an abandoned apartment building, or is it a clever trap? At first the town appears empty, but once the team reaches the rendezvous location, snipers surface.
Meanwhile an equipment-recovery ship sent to Mars discovers some strange signals. When investigating the signals, the landing team finds six sealed cryostatis pods with people inside. Major problems arise. The Mars colony suffered extinction because of a virulent virus and efforts of the military to contain the disease. Few survivors made it back to Earth. Most soldiers were executed, but a few took on new identities. The Collective hushed up the scandal, but now it threatens society again. Commander Straka recovers the pods and puts them into isolation aboard the recovery ship.
Strange dreams and emotions plague Straka's shipmates. He struggles to counteract the effects and locate the source. Meanwhile the ship heads toward Earth.
Giller keeps the action coming and piles one disaster on top of another. Body counts climb. Filled with gore and unpleasant types, the narrative veers at times into horror. Switching between Lea and Straka, Giller eventually brings all the strands together.