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Exogene (The Subterrene War) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2012
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Former CIA analyst McCarthy delivers a stark and wrenching sequel to Germline. The conclusion is simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant, and utterly appropriate for the brutal, bloody, and magnificent story. One of the ten best SFF novels for Spring 2012. -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
McCarthy does an excellent job of building and presenting Catherine [the protagonist]. The gritty realities of the futuristic conflict Cathering participates in, leads, and navigates may shock readers...getting to know Catherine is worth your time. -Victoria Frerichs, RT Book Reviews
It's not just good...it's the mil-sf book I wish I could send back in time to beat out Forever War for a Hugo. I never would have guessed McCarthy was an analyst...I was sure he'd been on the pointy end for a long time. - Ernest Lilley, SFRevu (Reviewer Emeritus), on Germline
"McCarthy captures a fascinating mix of naïveté and ruthlessness...this exciting and thoughtful story marks McCarthy as one of sci-fi's most promising new talents." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
T.C. McCarthy earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia, and a PhD from the University of Georgia, before embarking on a career that gave him a unique perspective as a science fiction author. From his time as a patent examiner in complex biotechnology, to his tenure with the Central Intelligence Agency, T.C. has studied and analyzed foreign militaries and weapons systems. T.C. was at the CIA during the September 11 terrorist attacks, and was still there when US forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, allowing him to experience warfare from the perspective of an analyst.
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The prose, pacing, and action never let off through the entire novel. I found it easy to empathize with Catherine, as will anyone who's been seen a bit too much to believe dogma passed off as the truth.
I liked Germline, his first novel, but I found myself liking this one even more. I don't really see an absolute need to read Germline first, but it might help get a more overall sense of the world T.C. has created. The difference in narrators between the two novels is hard not to notice, and if you like being in the mind of a true warrior, then Exogene will be the more rewarding read.
Exogene is a breath of fresh air in a genre often crowded with formulaic junk. Do yourself a favor and get this book - the depth of the story and writing is much closer to true literature than any other novel I've read recently.
The basic plot, I will admit, sounds like a rip off of a thousand not nearly as good stories. What really made Exogene for me is the thought that went into it. How would the US build a perfect super solider? How would they control one? How would they adjust and change parameters to continue to improve their "product"? And what (realistically) would it be like to *be* one of these people/not people?
It's an idea I found fascinating in the first novel (where you see the Genetics casually talking about how many enemies they killed before merrily talking about teenaged girl stuff), but that is really explored in this volume. McCarthy has a way of really getting into his character's heads and making them feel like real people you almost, but not quite know. (Which I found absolutely fascinating in this well thought out novel.)
The Subterrene War series is set in some sort of future/alternative Earth where nations are waging wars to gain control over scarcely distributed rare minerals and resources. There's very little background about the wars, and the books mainly focuses on the individuals on the fighting arena.
Germline (The Subterrene War), the first book from the Subterrene War, is about an embedded journalist that goes through a mental breakdown, and get in some sort of romantic relationship with an artificially created female soldier with a very short lifespan.
In Exogene (The Subterrene War) we follow one of the artificially created soldiers, from "boot-camp" to the fighting arena , through some sort of "gulag" and then escape toward freedom and life.
The main character gets "born" into war, and was created for only one purpose in mind. When arriving on the battlefield she get in contact with a world much more complicated than she is trained for, and combined with biological changes (degradation), her "upbringing" as a psychopathic killer, starts to break down. She starts a journey through a grim central Asian landscape, and grimmer inner landscape, searching for answers to her own existence.
The difference between these books and most other war related sci-fi, is how the author let you get under the skin of the main characters. This is a accomplishment in Exogene (The Subterrene War), because the main character is really different from the normal human strain. She is clearly made from base-human, but a lot is removed to make her a sociopath adapted for war. In contact with the world outside her training and upbringing, some more normal human properties surfaces, but they don't always fit with her, and she goes through a continuous inner struggle to find out what she really is.
McCarthy combines dark hardcore sci-fi military stories with characters that gets under your skin. I give this book five stars, because it is a page turner, and I really look forward to next book; Chimera (The Subterrene War).
Most recent customer reviews
The one flaw in the book is the fact that the last 1/4 of the book really didn't fit into the story.Read more