Zero World by Jason M. Hough is an exciting sci-fi tale combining the story of an assassin on a parallel earth – think Jason Bourne in Sliders. Book Review (no spoilers).
(Image from Jason M Hough website here)
Hough has already written a very successful trilogy - The Dire Earth Cycle - so expectations were high when cracking open this book and one is not disappointed.
The intrigue is fascinating, with the main character Peter Caswell a highly trained assassin based in the near future who has heightened skills due to an implant in his neck. The implant allows him to enhance his mental & physical abilities and also has a memory-wipe protocol which blanks his memory of all the horrible things he has done, although he does have a sly way of keeping track of the amount of murders he has committed.
Caswell is hurtled into space on a top-secret assignment which leads him to a parallel universe & a version of earth quite similar to his own but different enough that he has to employ the help of a local spy with a shared mission (although with different end game). Midway through the book there is a plot twist one couldn’t guess plus his implant wipes his memory due to a missed deadline and the race is on to save the multi-verse.
This book is really well written, the prose is beautiful, descriptions are sumptuous and the characters are well developed. For those who loved the TV Series Sliders (1995-2000) the science of the big “what-if” of a parallel earth sits easily, if you haven’t viewed the series the concept might be a little difficult to comprehend but once there you will be surprised & delighted. If you haven’t seen Sliders check it out - here. (Yes, Jerry O' Connell is that good looking)
The book seems to be setting up a series so hopefully we will see more of this saga. I would have liked to see more development of the near-earth planet (so it loses a rating point) but the thriller and spy elements of the book are great and will keep you on the edge of your seat and turning those pages. It’s a little concept heavy and might cause the reader to give up but for those who persevere you will not be disappointed but it loses another rating point for that so overall I give this book an 8 out of 10 planets.
John The Captain Ryan