This final instalment in Rod Rees’ highly entertaining saga of an out-of-control artificial reality overrun with virtual despots and maniacal figures from history draws to a close what has thus far been a very enjoyable ride.
The saga’s central feminine triumvirate of Norma Williams (the US President’s daughter), Trixie Dashwood (former leader of the Dupe resistance) and Ella Thomas (Lilithi descendant previously sent into the Demi-monde to rescue Norma) are continuing to do their best to thwart the plans of Septimus Bole and the Grigori plan to control both the real and virtual worlds, whilst super-computer ABBA has resurrected previous avatar, Vanka Maykov, and continues to meddle in events, its final motives unclear.
Rees’ ensemble of characters remain as flagrant and vivacious as always, moving the storyline along at a cracking pace, whilst injecting the requisite levels of humour, adventure and sinister presence to the narrative as required.
Over the course of the four books in the series, a larger and larger proportion of the storyline has taken place in the real world, where Reinhardt Heydrich’s daughter, Aaliz has occupied Norma William’s body and become the figurehead for a new youth organisation known as the Fun/Funs. Now as Bole’s endgame nears its conclusion and Aaliz draws together her followers for an event known as The Gathering, Norma and the others finally discover the Grigori’s clandestine intentions.
Although it would be unwise to attempt to jump into this series at any place other than the first book, at only four volumes in its entirety, this saga should prove both attractive and addictive to those readers looking to for an enjoyable new distraction in the steam/cyberpunk genre. Highly recommended.