From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In Canadian author Watts's intense, beautifully written conclusion to his Rifters trilogy (after 2004's ßehemoth: ß-Max), Lenie Clarke, the near-psychotic, bio-engineered woman who loosed the deadly organism known as ßehemoth on an already environmentally compromised world, resurfaces from the ocean's depths to discover who's behind continuing efforts to destroy all life on Earth. Together with Lubin, a bio-engineered man who's a highly efficient killer, Clarke discovers an America that has been devastated, not just by ßehemoth but by attacks from heavily fortified, high-tech enclaves whose rulers will stop at nothing in a futile attempt to contain the out-of-control organism. Worse still, the battle is apparently being led by Achilles Desjardins, a murderous psychopath who has slipped the protective psychological programming that once kept his darker impulses under control. Aided by Taka Ouellette, a guilt-ridden, second-rate physician, Clarke and Lubin strive desperately to unravel the secrets of both ßehemoth and Seppuku, its even more dangerous mutation. Like some adrenaline-charged fusion of Clarke's The Deep Range and Gibson's Neuromancer, Watts's trilogy represents a major addition to early 21st-century hard SF.
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Driven from Atlantis by the psychological disease a-max, Lenie Clarke searches for redemption on land. She and former spy Lubin hijack traveling medic Taka Oulette's mobile infirmary and discover that someone is shooting germs that the North American defense grid is destroying via containment burns. When Lenie and company get a sample, however, the germs seem to cure aehemoth, and the three start spreading them by courier. Then defense chief Achilles Desjardins shows up and tells them the germs are actually a more virulent strain of aehemoth. This is technically true, but Desjardins has reason to dissemble. Believing him, though, Lenie, Lubin, and Oulette split up to find their couriers, and Lenie finds one apparently in late-stage aehemoth, who then completely recovers. Desjardins isn't the hero Lenie had taken him to be, and still, there is hope for the world, after all. aehemoth: Seppuku lives up to the promise of aehemoth: a-Max [BKL Jl 04] and concludes the series begun in Starfish (1999) and maelstrom (2001)--perhaps, for this finale is nothing if not open-ended. Regina Schroeder
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