cover image Golden Son

Golden Son

Pierce Brown. Del Rey, $25 (448p) ISBN 978-0-345-53981-6

Misdirection and chaos mark the twisty second book of Brown’s SF trilogy (after Red Rising), set mostly on a near-future Mars divided between the ruling Golds and the peons called Reds. Red-born Darrow has been recruited by radicals, disguised as one of the elite, and sent to spark a revolution, but Brown makes it clear (often through scenes of mopey self-reflection) that Darrow’s not suited to the task. As a sleeper agent, he is forced to manipulate both friend and foe, a burden described vividly and to great effect. Brown shows everything organically, from the Roman influences on the culture to the exciting potential hidden in both halves of society. Dramatic battles with a real sense of loss, and a final chapter that slams into both Darrow and the reader, make this the rare middle book that loses almost no momentum as it sets up the final installment. (Jan.)