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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life after Behemoth?, June 3, 2007
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This review is from: Behemoth: B-Max (Hardcover)
If _Maelstrom_ showed how the world ended, in _Behemoth: Book One: B-Max_, the reader gets to see what life is like after it is all over, at least among some of the survivors.

For the most part, the world of the _Starfish_ novels (the _Rifters_ trilogy, though technically the third book had to be split into two books for publishing reasons) has shrunk to a single location for this novel, a community established at the end of _Maelstrom_ (if community is the word one would use), a sometimes-friends, more-often-enemies collection of rifters and corpses located at the bottom of the mid-Atlantic Ocean. The corpses in desperation had established an underwater city that they hoped was going to make them not only safe from Behemoth (though they also had medical fixes to make themselves immune to Behemoth) but also any reprisals by a spastic, presumably dying world that was lashing out at both old foes and those presumed to be responsible for the world-ending plague. The rifters, lead by Lenie Clarke and Ken Lubin, found the corpses, at first with thoughts to exact revenge, but instead gradually were forced to work together by various circumstances, chief among them the facts that they were isolated from the rest of the world and were unsure who outside their underwater domain was left alive (and afraid to go looking thanks to the both incredibly hostile electronic lifeforms called Lenies and also a real fear of reprisals from nations and powers outside of North America).

Much of the action centers on the swirling politics of the Mid Atlantic Ridge community, largely from the point of view of the rifters, though there was a thread on the spiraling descent into completely amoral evil of the enormously powerful Achilles Desjardins. Readers from _Maelstrom_ will recall that not only is he free from Guilt Trip he is free from guilt of any kind, yet he still possesses the incredible powers of a `lawbreaker, needed now more than ever (and the powers that be are still completely unaware of his changed mental status). Though they weren't too graphic, I will say the chapters exploring the mind of Desjardins were pretty intense and somewhat disturbing, though some of it was a building sick dread, based on information the author gave to the reader bit by bit, and part of it was my imagination of what happened next after the book's focus switched back to the rifters and corpses.

I didn't think the book was quite a strong as either _Starfish_ or _Maelstrom_ and some of the stridently one-note political attitudes of some of the rifters got tiring and too much time spent at the underwater city made the setting feel a bit claustrophobic (though it did really help drive home themes of the rifters' and corpses' isolation and the destruction of the world). I also felt Watts could have developed some of the corpses a bit more, though as the books are really about the rifters that is understandable. Still, a good book and it held my interest. I am reading book two of _Behemoth_ at the moment and am enjoying it greatly.
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