William C. Dietz,
(Ace, 2002)

The countdown continues in EarthRise, the sequel to William C. Dietz's DeathDay. The new book picks up the action shortly after the previous book ends.

The citadel grinds toward completion, and by now, more people (including the reader) know that the construction is for "birthing chambers" for the Saurons, who appear to reproduce through parthenogenesis, with the nymph carrying on the line while the host dies and joins a collective unconscious of ancestors. Before this, however, they will kill off most of the slaves. As the resistance learns of this as well, the focus turns to destroying the citadel. In order to accomplish that, however, various factions must come together, including the Fon, the lowest Sauron caste.

Meanwhile, Hak-Bin, the Sauron leader, is undergoing the change early and at first tries to conceal it before seeking medical help. He is faced with one administrative headache after another as sabotage slows down the preparations and assassination attempts on President Franklin go awry.

EarthRise is similar to DeathDay in structure and pace, and I would definitely recommend that you read DeathDay first. Dietz tries to provide a backstory, and it is informative rather than intrusive, but reading the books in order gives you the full impact.

Dietz's continuity slips a bit in this book, such as when a woman who dies in the first book returns to life in the second, but it's still entertaining and suspenseful. The descriptions of violence were a bit much after a while, and I found myself skimming over them. One expects violence in a story of this sort, but it was repetitious and soon palled.

The end seems to tie things up at one level, but there seems to be room to continue the story in the post-invasion society. If you've read and enjoyed DeathDay, you'll want to read EarthRise -- how else are you going to find out what happens?

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 30 November 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.