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The Machinery of Light    by David J. Williams order for
Machinery of Light
by David J. Williams
Order:  USA  Can
Spectra, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I read David J. Williams' The Machinery of Light without having taken in the prior two books - The Mirrored Heavens and The Burning Skies - in this action packed Autumn Rain cyberthriller trilogy and strongly recommend that others read them in order. It's a real challenge to follow the story (and its myriad of characters) otherwise.

This third and final episode begins on October 1, 2110 with the advent of World War III in the Earth-Moon System. After the assassination of American President Harrison and takeover by Stephanie Montrose (allied with Spacecom commander Jharek Szilard), an attack is launched against the Eurasian Coalition, so that 'inferno becomes Armageddon'. And of course the rogue commando unit Autumn Rain is still in play, with imprisoned mastermind Matthew Sinclair pulling the strings - and messing with the space-time continuum - right to the very end.

The plot moves forward in brief, alternating spurts of violent, peripatetic action, following key characters on many fronts. Claire Haskell (the Manilishi rogue supercomputer/cyborg) is pursued by all parties (including Strom Carson on behalf of President Montrose) through the lunar tunnels. She's captured and escapes - more than once. Stefan Lynx and Seb Linehan are on a mission to assassinate Szilard on his flagship Montana. Leo Sarmax and Lyle Spencer were last seen in Eurasian territory. They hitch a bumpy ride off planet.

Leaders rise and fall - Montrose, then Szilard - as the Coalition occupies North America, China turns on its Russian ally, Eurasian fleets rise from a devastated Earth to take the fight into space, and the surviving members of Autumn Rain converge on the Moon for a final showdown - who, if any, will survive it, and in what form? Though I could have used some of Claire's abilities to track its characters and events, I enjoyed The Machinery of Light as a lightspeed shoot-em-up with constant carnage on Earth, the Moon and in space.

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