The Mirrored Heavens
by David J. Williams
Cover Artist: Paul Youll
Review by Mel Jacob
Spectra Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553591569
Date: 27 January 2009 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
[Editor's Note: On this books release as a mass market paperback, we're re-running Mel Jacob's review from our May 2008 issue.]
David Williams' action-packed debut novel Mirrored Heavens, the first of a planned Autumn Rain trilogy, uses mechs and razors to fight terrorists. Mechs are augmented human warriors often teamed with razors, computer network jockeys, to fight enemies of the state including the South American Jaguars, a new group called Autumn Rain, criminals, and even traitors within the government. The world teeters on the brink of war.
Body counts rise and cities die as Claire Haskell, a razor, and Jason Marlowe, a mech, struggle to survive and complete their missions. When their current mission goes awry, Marlowe is ordered to save Claire at all costs. Also caught in the wash from that event, a creature identified as the Operative strives to reach the Moon and team with his razor, Stefan Lynx. Linehan, a mech, and Spenser, a razor, form another such pair, belonging to different sides yet needing to work together to survive.
No one knows with any certainty who to trust and who is friend and who enemy. Further, mechs and razors have implanted memories that may be false. Claire and Marlowe think they have been lovers and try to pursue that relationship while battling those determined to kill or capture them.
The story switches in breakneck scenes between these pairs as events unfold. Non-stop action propels the reader forward. Like William Styron's Sophie's Choice, characters face horrific decisions involving mass destruction of innocents and murder of close friends and allies.
Mechs show little or no emotion. Razors vary from logical to emotional and all shades between. Overall, Williams handles action well, but he mangles emotions.
Williams explores territory similar to Marc Giller's Hammerjack books, Hammerjack and Prodigal. Fond of reversals and pulling rabbits from a hat, Williams verges on deus ex machina in places to extricate his characters from tight spots. Those enamored of cyberpunk will eagerly await his next installment.