IRON GOLD By Pierce Brown
Hodder and Stoughton, s/b, £13.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
In the distant future, mankind has colonised the solar system, but has been divided into castes. The Golds are the ruling caste – genetically and surgically modified to be the biggest, strongest and fastest of all, while the lowly Reds toil beneath the surface of planets mining for materials to further increase the wealth of the Golds.
Darrow was born a Red, but through surgery and training became a Gold, and in the original trilogy defeated the ruling Golds becoming almost a messiah to the other castes.
This book begins ten years after Darrow began his crusade against the Golds – his wife rules as Sovereign, but all is not well within the galaxy. The Reds liberated from their toil beneath the surface now live in poverty on the surface, always hungry, toiling in filth for scraps to feed their families and living in fear of their lives as infighting among the Red tribes increases. The Senate is divided, and Darrow – once the hero and saviour of all – finds his world slowly crumbling as political machinations conspire to unseat his wife and destroy him.
Brown spins a good tale – his future galaxy is exceptionally well-detailed and thought out, populated with characters sitting in all shades of the moral spectrum. He has already taken Darrow on a journey from the very bottom of society to the very top, and now you cannot help but feel sorry for Darrow as his world begins to fall apart around him. He finds himself distanced from his wife and son (physically and emotionally), outlawed by society, with many of his friends turning away from him.
As his friends begin to die around him, he has to turn to his former enemies for help as he sets off on what seems to be an impossible mission that only he seems to believes in to restore peace. He knows only war, but will that be enough to keep him and his rag tag band of misfits alive as they try to defeat the foes that they believe they face?
Any sci-fi fan should invest in Pierce Brown’s work – the books are long, but the pages fly by as you find yourself fully immersed in the political scheming, plotting and battles that fill them.