Daylight on Iron Mountain
Chung Kuo 2
This second book in the new prequel to Wingrove’s seminal Chung Kuo series brings to close the stories of the characters from Son of Heaven, like Jake Reed and family, Tsao Ch’un, and sets up the upcoming main players in The Middle Kingdom and the remaining 18 books. While this is a direct sequel it does jump forward – which is necessary since Son of Heaven takes place a couple hundred years before The Middle Kingdom – it allows something that so many other books do not: a satisfying conclusion to the storylines of characters. We find Jake young and watch him grow through his life, from rich techie to poor farmer to influential in the new world to aging and on his death bed. It is touching in ways that many books never get to display.
This book is also amazingly scary. Consider 1984 add in that everyone is trapped inside levels of a continent spanning hexagonal city where you can only work your way up or down in the levels but never, ever outside of the control of the state. No privacy and no possibility of privacy. No way to better yourself. No way to control your destiny. Very much like an ant hill except the stars, sun and sky are all fictions viewed on screens on the wall but never actually seen. Claustrophobia reigns. But this world also plants the seeds of unrest that blossom in the next installments.
Wingrove delivers a world to fear, a story touching, and a life complete. It is a roadmap for how prequels should be written.
Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.