World of Fire, by James Lovegrove

World of Fire, by James Lovegrove book coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher:  Solaris
Published: 2014
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer: SJ Higbee

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I had already read the enjoyable World of Water which happens to be the second in the series–and spotted that I actually had the first book in my TBR pile…

Dev Harmer, reluctant agent of Interstellar Security Solutions, wakes in a new body with every mission, and he has woken this time on Alighieri, a planet perpetually in flames, where the world’s wealth lies below the elemental surface and humanity is not the only race after it.

Alighieri is an infernal world, so close to its sun that it surface is regularly baked to 1,000°C, hot enough to turn rock to lava. But deep underground there are networks of tunnels connecting colonies of miners who dig for the precious helium-3 regolith deposits in Alighieri’s crust. Polis+, the AI race who are humankind’s great galactic rivals, want to claim the fiery planet’s mineral wealth for their own. All that stands between them and this goal is Dev. But as well as Polis+’s agents, there are giant moleworms to contend with, a spate of mysterious earthquakes, and the perils of the surface where a man can be burned to cinders if he gets caught unprotected on the day side….

Dev is such an enjoyable character. As ever, this book starts with a bang when poor old Dev, barely able to stand as he is still getting to grips with his new body (which is very nicely described) suddenly finds himself in the middle of an earthquake. And from that moment, Dev is playing catchup on a hostile planet with some heavily vested interests in a body that isn’t his own.

This is just what I needed to keep the misery of flu in the background as I was swept up into this action thriller. Lovegrove’s sense of pacing is always good and as Dev finds himself struggling against an alien race determined to see humanity founder and fail, the pages flipped past where other books I had thought I wanted to read got abandoned. It didn’t hurt that there were also some nice touches of humor in amongst the action and danger. But I simply relaxed and became swept up in Dev’s problems. For me, the highlight was the action in the tunnel when confronting those moleworms.

Lovegrove satisfactorily brings this tale of danger to a suitably exciting close–but I did enjoy the poignancy of poor Dev, doomed to continue on these ridiculously dangerous missions in a series of disposable bodies, until he has earned the right to have his own body back.

Checking this out on Goodreads, I note there are only the two books so far–I do hope there are more to come and recommend these for anyone who enjoys a well-written far future action thriller.

SJ Higbee

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