The latest book from New York Times Bestselling Author Graham Brown!
In the year 2137 the world stands on the brink of ruin. Pollution, war and overpopulation have darkened the skies, photosynthesis has begun to fail and most of the Earth’s twenty billion souls face starvation and death. The only hope for survival lays with the fertile fields of Mars, where a thirty year terraforming effort is turning vast swaths of the red planet to green.
But to the leaders of the Cartel, a conglomeration of the world’s most powerful families, using Mars to feed the overpopulated masses of the Earth is a waste of resources. They have another plan—take Mars for themselves and leave the Earth to self-destruct on its own. The only thing standing in their way is the idealistic President Jackson Collins, head of the United World Government and unquestioned leader of the World Military Forces, who believes that humanity must rise or fall as one.
As the tide of war rises, James Collins, the President’s son, a lifelong soldier and a weary veteran of his father’s military campaigns returns from the field disillusioned and doubtful as to whether humanity is even worth saving. Though he wants nothing more than to walk away, James soon finds himself drawn into the swirling vortex of battle and caught in the titanic struggle that will decide the fate of two worlds.
That’s quite the stage setter for this grand slam of a novel. This book is fast paced, bloody, terrifying and centred on a plot that paints a horrible future. It’s filled with oppression, totalitarianism, and extreme environmental disaster; in the mix of all that are these incredible, well thought out characters interacting in settings that are so well done. Graham Brown takes us into the future with a bleak portrait of worlds in crisis on the brink. This is a book that doesn’t disappoint, and is one of the best science fiction novels that I have personally come across. Let’s dig into The Gods of War and have a look at what makes this one of the best in quite awhile.
The first major thing to really stand out to me that made this book just so good to read was how well of a picture Brown and Andrews paint throughout. They put together this dystopian world on the brink of complete destruction with the lack of sunshine and nuclear winter. The people are held down because of the government trying to maintain peace and find a way to sustain life and the razors edge that they are forced to walk to attain those goals. Brown also paints this great divide between those who have and those who have not; its not so much a gap as it is a massive canyon. Either you are living this well maintained lifestyle or you are completely impoverished living in total squalor. It really shows how badly things can go if we destroy the environment.
On the other hand, you have this world Mars that is on the brink of turning a corner where it can support life and is being formed into a utopia and a new sanctuary for humanity in the heavens. All is not well even there though as there is a struggle for control going on. On the red planet, Brown and Andrews paint this broad picture of dust storms, slavery and the city that has sprung out of all that, and all the horrors that ensue once the plot picks up on Mars. It’s always great when an author absolutely nails their settings. The way it’s written, you have a very vivid idea of the setting and that is really a major plus for enjoying the plot itself. It almost reminds me of George R.R Martin and how well he puts together his settings and the ease in which he sparks your imagination.
Beyond the incredible setting of the book, the character that the plot centers on is just fantastic. James Collins is just incredible as the reluctant hero, the son of the idealistic President of the doomed planet. Brown makes a lot of connections to the Greek gods in Ares who is the God of War, in which (minor spoiler to follow) James Collins is taken to Mars at the time he is a high profile target and instead of giving his true name, he gives the slave masters the name of Ares. He also makes very symbolic connections to Bible tales of freeing slaves. Collins goes to Mars a slave, becoming one of the oppressed but as Ares rises to defend the oppressed and then eventually becomes their leader, and also happens to be a military leader previously and is a natural master of war. It’s amazing how deep Brown has written Collins, with connections that can be made such as to Moses in the Bible leading the oppressed slaves to the Holy Land, which in the book is essentially Olympia, the city humanity has built on Mars.
The villains that are present in this book are the typical ‘out for themselves’ corporate types who are ready to abandon the Earth to its fate of total destruction, becoming completely uninhabitable and those who are left behind will die. Their motivations are to get Mars as functional as possible and then abandon the Earth but at the same time create as much mayhem as possible to cover their escape. These antagonists that have been fleshed out extremely well, adding so much depth to this engrossing thriller that just draws you in even more. As with James Collins, the antagonists are given much more heft and depth of character and realistically their motivations are relatively believable considering how much is on the line.
This book would make for an excellent movie; as I read through, that was the one thing that rang true throughout, that I would like to see this on a movie screen. The overarching power struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors and the environmental challenges that are faced throughout, not to mention the action sequences are brilliant and sincerely intense. The way the book ends, it leaves you craving the next book in this series.
I cannot recommend this book enough for those who are looking for great action, thrilling plot and engaging, likeable characters. There’s so much tension built up over the course of the book with the stakes getting higher and higher you can’t help but continue to turn the pages.
The Gods of War by Graham Brown is available on Amazon and bookstores everywhere.