This novel would rate five stars except there’s far too much
Evan Smoak is Orphan X. The Orphan program was a deep,
dark, black-ops program where children were recruited and trained as assassins.
Evan was taken from a group home at age twelve and lived with his trainer/mentor
until he was nineteen and went out into the field on his first assignment. The
Orphans were never told why their targets were
chosen, only that they were enemies of the United States. Later Even
left the program and became “The Nowhere Man” who worked for people in desperate
need of help.
The U.S. president, who used to run the Orphan program, is now
eliminating all the Orphans. When Evan’s mentor is
murdered, he decides to go after President Bennett. But Evan is also
Bennett’s number one target. Evan’s first assignment as an Orphan is one the
president particularly wants to hide.
At the same time, Evan is working a case as The Nowhere Man,
helping a young man with autism whose family has been wiped out by a drug
Evan is violent and indestructible. He has access to all the
right people to get the job done. If you can get beyond the unbelievable
traits, he’s interesting and likable.
Strange but captivating—but that’s true of most literary
novels that hold my interest (many don’t). The story is philosophical and the
plot is complicated, so I won’t try to describe it except to say John Woman has
an interesting interpretation of history. If you like to read a book that makes
you think, this is a good candidate.
Mosley is known for his mystery/crime/detective stories with
Easy Rawlins, Fearless Jones, or others. This is the second standalone literary
novel of Mosley’s that I’ve read, and I thoroughly enjoyed both.
Red Moon is combination of speculative
fiction, near-future, environmental, political, hard and soft science fiction, moon
colonization, and a little space opera thrown in. Even though it’s called Red Moon, much of the story takes place
in China. All the main characters but one are Chinese.
The amount of knowledge and research required for this book
is mind-boggling—China’s history, geography, present day culture, technology,
and politics; moon geology; quantum mechanics; artificial intelligence; space
travel; cryptocurrency; global economics;
moon exploration; and more.
Robinson paints images of the moon and China in such detail
that you feel you are there, from earthrise on the moon to crowds of millions
of protestors in Beijing. He also depicts various contrasting possibilities for
communities on the moon.
He extends the unrest in today’s world into a political and
economic crisis in China and the United States (and the world) of the near
future, with a hopeful outcome.
The characters are varied, interesting, and believable. Fred
Frederickson, an American delivering a quantum phone to the moon, is accused of
murdering his client. Chan Qi, the daughter of China’s Minister of Finance and
a leader in the opposition to the current government, is hiding on the moon and
is pregnant. Poet and celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu helps Fred and Qi evade
their pursuers. There is even an AI who matures throughout the book. Even the
less major characters are interesting.
The story kept me involved from beginning to end.