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Fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable thriller.
on 13 May 2011
The world of Equations of Life is set two decades after 'Armageddon'. The world has been hit by a number of nuclear attacks leaving London as England's sole surviving city. The rest of the world hasn't fared much better; may people have been left radiation scarred by their experiences in the Armageddon. The Japanese have fared even worse. The islands have been, by the start of the novel, completely submerged and all Japanese are forced to live elsewhere.
This sets up the novel for the introduction of Samuil Petrovich. Living in the now - even more crowded - city of London where the parks are now made up of shanty towns constructed from old shipping containers, Petrovich is apparently a young and bright postgraduate student. Early on, he save Sonja Oshicora from kidnapping and finds that his quiet life is about to be disturbed as Sonja is the daughter of the head of the powerful Oshicora corporation.
From this point on, the pace is unrelenting. Over the next few days of Petrovich's life, after nearly dying from the shock of his exertions in saving Sonja due to a weak heart, he is caught up in a complicated war between the Oshicora corporation and a Ukrainian mobster, who models himself on Stalin.
This could all seem a little on the small time good guy takes on the bad guys and WINS. But that would be unfair. For starters, we can infer early on that Petrovich is perhaps not quite all that he seems. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that his background needs a little explaining. In amongst all this, I think it is really only Petrovich's character that is fully developed. This novel is the first part of a trilogy, so hopefully Simon Morden can imbue the supporting cast with a little more character over these novels.
Throw in quantum computing and a Petrovich's scientific work and you have a heady mix of SF and action.
By no means perfect, it is perhaps a little on the light side (the reverse of that, of course, is that the action is non-stop and great fun), and the characterisation beyond the main character is a little weak. These are forgiveable, though. Simon Morden writes well and if you fancy a SF thriller you could do far worse than this. I'm looking forward to the second part.