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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Hugh Howey - Shift Wool Trilogy Book 2

review written and read live on bookshow on 8th Jan 2015 by Ro Bennett

This is book 2 of the Wool Trilogy which forms a part of a series of nine science fiction novellas called the Silo Saga which is divided into three parts: Wool, Shift and Dust. 

Howey first began the series in 2011, initially writing Wool as a stand-alone self published short story on Amazon, but as it grew in popularity he expanded it so that the Wool omnibus now consists of 5 stories.   

The Shift Omnibus comprises three books: Legacy, Order and Pact. I am reviewing Legacy. Finally there’s a book called Dust which ties it all together.

The story of Wool takes place on a post-apocolyptic  Earth. Those who have survived the disaster live in the Silo, a subterranean city extending over one hundred and fifty storeys beneath the surface.

The First Shift, Legacy is a prequel to the story in the Wool novels. The reader learns what led to the catastrophe through the eyes of Donald, a young congressman.    

The book starts with some rather possibly disturbing true facts.  In 2007, the Centre for Automation in Naniobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platforms that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnosis, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate.

The same year, CBS re-aired a programme about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic events.

At almost the same time in humanity’s broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall. And the ability to forget it ever happened.

The Prologue is set in 2110:  Beneath the hills of Fulton County, Georgia.  Here is an extract: 

Troy returned to the living and found himself inside of a tomb. He awoke to a world of confinement, a thick sheet of frosted glass pressed near to his face. Dark shapes stirred on the other side of the icy murk. He tried to lift his arms, to beat on the glass, but his muscles were too weak. He attempted to scream -  but could only cough. The taste in his mouth was foul. His ears rang with the clank of heavy locks opening, the hiss of air, the squeak of hinges long dormant.

In the first chapter the story switches back to 2049 tin Washington D,C. with congressman Donald Keene waiting to meet with Senator Thurman, a powerful, charismatic politician who is about to employ him in a prestigious job as a surveyor of an innovative and very important building project. As the story unfolds, the reader discovers what the building project is and why 38 years later Troy finds himself awakening in a tomb.  

Howey’s imagination is mind blowing. It’s a very clever idea and the story is fascinating and scary with loads of suspense and drama.  The story really makes you think, because in some ways, parts of it seem horribly plausible. 
I was tempted to read the whole series one after another, but decided to pace myself and intersperse the books with something lighter in between.  I found it pretty compulsive page turning reading.

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