cover image Rogue Sequence

Rogue Sequence

Zac Topping. Tor, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-32243-2

Dazzling high-tech combat pervades this roiling Ramboesque thriller from Topping (Wake of War). In a dismal near future, Ander Rade is a genetically modified combat mercenary working for Xyphos Industries, a U.S. producer of killer assault teams. After a mission goes suspiciously wrong, he ends up imprisoned in Bolivia, where he’s caged and forced to fight other prisoners. Fortunately, Agent Moreno with the U.S. Genetic Compliance Department negotiates his release in exchange for Rade’s help tracking down Xyphos team member Darius Turin, who has gone rogue and is suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on an upcoming World Unity Summit in Atlanta. Rade agrees, and Moreno smuggles him back to the U.S., where “mods” have been declared illegal. Together, they conduct a top-secret investigation that leads them ever deeper into a “corpopolitical” drama involving a Russian arms smuggler, the dark net, and a multibillion-dollar holding company invested in embryonic cloning. The plot is plausible enough to frame all the violent action, and Topping drives things to a flashy, cinematic finish. Despite skimping on backstory for Rade and Moreno, he does a decent job developing their relationship from deep distrust to soldierly camaraderie. In the infrequent breathers between fight scenes, there are some lovely, spare descriptions of the near-future American wasteland. Readers who prefer their action in overdrive should check this out. (June)