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Carry on Petrovic
on 1 May 2011
Pandering to my weakness for instant gratification and by the magic of Kindle and One-Click, Amazon has already sent me the sequel to 'Equations of Life'.
The story so far: In book one, Petrovic arrives (name probably altered to protect the guilty).
He is a cyberpunk living in a post apocalyptic London from Russia on a student visa. He is a genius, but also verging on the psychopathic. Did I mention that his heart is shot and he suffers periodic cardiac arrests? A single act of kindness results in making enemies of the Yakusa, the Russian Mafia, the police, the Church and the local militia. A thrill-a-minute, page-turning tale follows in which, pausing only to discover the Theory of Everything, he manages to defeat, elude or make friends with his enemies. What more can fate hold?
Book two certainly manages to avoid the usual trouble with trilogies with the pace sagging in the middle. First-something nice happens to Petrovic! He falls in love, marries and gets a new mechanical heart! Now that he doesn't have to collapse so often, he has time to invent antigravity, Artificial Intelligence and a black-hole generator. As before, this is his undoing. England north of Watford Gap revolts and invades the south, trapping his wife. Foreign powers decide he is dangerous and send assassins to kill him and missiles to destroy London. The pace doesn't let up as he finds his better self, attempts to protect London, save his wife and stay alive. With his Amazonian wife and his AI friend, three are stronger than one, but this is still a nail-biter, verging more towards Military SF than before in its intensity.
Excellent read again even if I would prefer a gentler place for my escapism. Don't the next generation ever ease up? In a calmer time HG Wells made a whole book out of just the invention of antigravity ('Cavorite' in 'From the Earth to the Moon'). Great to see Petrovic becoming more human-almost 'Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean' as Raymond Chandler put it. Or on a mercenary angle, Dean Koontz, a very successful US thriller writer said in his book 'How to Write a Bestseller' 'readers like to identify with a hero who brushes his teeth in the morning'.