Guest Author - Laura Lehman
In Prodigal Marc D Giller continues his cyberpunk series, picking up the story soon after the end of Hammerjack. Lea Prism, no longer a Hammerjack, is now a corporate spook hunting down the Collective's enemies and among them, Lea's nemesis, Avalon. While the world believes her ex-lover Cray Alden is dead he alone knows the strange truth about his survival. While on a mission to hunt down an Inru base in the ruins of Chernobyl, Lea and her team make an ominous discovery. The Inru are still conducting experiments with humans ascension. Lea's team discovers a high tech lab where subjects in immersion tanks seem to be linked by some sort of hive mind.
Meanwhile, the first salvage ship is sent to Mars since the deadly Mons virus wiped out the colonies ten years earlier. On the surface they make a startling discovery-- six cryogenic chambers with the last survivors. Among them is Colonel Martin Thanis, the man who perpetrated atrocities against the colonists during the plague. While officer Nathan Straka fears the spread of the Mons virus the captain allows the tubes to be taken on board. Soon after they discover the frozen men are not only infected, they minds are also connected to each other. The similarities between the virus and the Inru developments are hard to ignore-- or control.
Like Hammerjack, there is a lot of action in Prodigal although some of it seemed too long for it's purpose in the plot. We learn a little more about the cyberpunk world Giller has created-- namely the past of the Martian colony and a dip into the underground subculture world of the Zone. I wish there had been more depth in Avalon. Except for one brief scene where she tries to remember human sensations, I never felt like I really got into her head and I think that's a shame. I also wish there had been more exploration of Lyssa (the artificial intelligence created by the Inru in Hammerjack). She was present in the story, but more as an aside than a part of the story.
While I had some disappointment with the focus of Prodigal overall it is a strong follow up to Hammerjack. Lea's story continues and leaves itself open for perhaps another book (one that I hope will address some of the issues not addressed from the first two books). This is a great addition to any cyberpunk reading list.
Prodigal by Marc D Giller is available at Amazon.com
Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of Prodigal