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Explore the fine line between terrorist and freedom fighter in Bruno's exciting scifi thriller
August 23, 2016
by Rhett C. Bruno
Random House Publishing Group
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date 21 Jun 2016
The line between freedom fighter and terrorist is a thin one, and what is just is not so easy to determine. It is particularly visible in many works of classic science fiction. Rhett C Bruno is not afraid to explore that line in his incredible novel, Titanborn. I was so enthralled, that I sat for hours, unwilling to put the book down until it was finished.
The beginning and ending mirror each other - an act of personal sacrifice which will hopefully lead to the saving of many lives - unlikely to be remembered, unlikely to be appreciated. Malcolm Graves is a corporate problem-solver, a paid assassin. Earth and its related colonies are run by corporations. Workers are valuable, but only because of the cost involved in transporting new ones. Otherwise, people are disposable. Ringers are the descendants of those who fled to Titan before the meteor hit earth. Long separated from their kin, they lost immunity to common ailments. When people from Earth arrived many years later, the Ringers suffered devastating losses to illnesses brought by the new settlers. The Earthers quickly took over. Those Ringers remaining live in fear of contagion, struggling to survive as all the better jobs go to Earthers and anyone who becomes ill is sent into quarantine camps.
Titanborn's introductory chapters introduces Malcolm Graves, shows what he does, and gives a bit of insight into his world, but the actual story begins with an explosion on Earth set by a Ringer. Malcolm and his new partner are assigned to hunt the perpetrator (the terrorist). After finding him, they are given a larger assignment - to eliminate the Titanborn threat.
This isn't a tale of good vs bad. Neither side behaves with honor but both can in a way be understood. It is revolution and it is dirty, but at the same time it is human. Bruno doesn't pull any punches. He doesn't give the readers an easy out. There is considerable moral ambiguity. Readers are left to watch, and like Solomon judge.
If I were to list all of the things that impressed me about Titanborn, this review would be far longer than anyone would be willing to read. Also I feel that the beauty of Titanborn is best left to the reader to explore for themselves.
After reading Titanborn, I am eager to read more of Rhett C Bruno's works.
I received a copy of Titanborn from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
In this gritty and innovative science-fiction thriller in the vein of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, turmoil on one of Saturn's moons rattles Earth's most powerful citizens—and draws one planet-hopping rogue into a fight he never saw coming.
Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he's told, takes what he's earned, and leaves the questions to someone else—especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders.
But his latest mission doesn't afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm's paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who's more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth.
Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he's learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.