cover image The Art of War

The Art of War

David Wingrove. Atlantic/Corvus (Trafalgar Square, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-0-85789-071-9

Fifth in a projected 20-book series, which has been reworked and expanded from an eight-book series published between 1989 and 1997, this futuristic epic continues to explore a Chinese-dominated Earth, now called Chung Kuo, in the year 2206. In the wake of a five-year war, peace is threatened by lingering rebels and malcontents, as well as ruthless political infighting among the ruling Council of Seven. While the focus bounces around a somewhat unwieldy cast of dozens, several major players do stand out, including budding artist Ben Shepherd, manipulative mastermind Howard DeVore, and the treacherous Wang Sau-leyan. This installment is more about moving pieces into place than any significant plot payout; even when things happen, they feel inconclusive. The epic scope and ambitious storytelling work well with the worldbuilding, but the story%E2%80%94very much part of a larger work in progress%E2%80%94is nigh-inaccessible to newcomers. Agent: Diana Tyler, MBA Literary Agents. (Dec.)