Review: Chung Kuo Book 1: Son of Heaven

Book: Chung Kuo Book 1: Son of Heaven

Author: David Wingrove

Publisher: Corvus/Atlantic

There have been many post apocalyptic novels over the years. To me, none have been as credible as this one is. With minor exceptions, the technological advances suggested in the novel are logical extensions of published research over the past twenty years and with the transfer of manufacturing equipment from western countries to China this book is a logical extension of life from now to the near future.

Son of Heaven follows the life and times experienced by Jake Reed, former futures broker and trainer, a login who had linked directly into a virtual world that had mirrored the market and a member of the elite citizens, the protected. At the opening of the book he lived in Dorset with his son and extended family, after the economic collapse. He is an integral part of the village community, helping to keep order in a disordered world.

The story also explains some of the causes of the man made disaster that killed a large percentage of the worlds population, through disease, starvation and loss of civilisation. We learn more as it documents their trials, as Jake and the villages fight against bandits and the unprotected, travel to trade their goods and the book ends with an invasion of the UK, the rounding up of the remnants of population and the selection and subsequent processing of the survivors by their Chinese invaders.

Wingrove also shows some of the invaders viewpoint, the internal conflicts between Jiang Lei one of those who helped to set up the collapse and his minder Wang Yu-Lei as they process the remnants of the UK population. Jiang finds himself fighting the prejudices of his culture as he tries to make the assimilation as peaceful as possible while Wang follows a different agenda. We are treated with the several meetings between Jake and Jiang and given some information as to the causes of the conflict between east and west.

This book is an excellent read, is hard to put down and the concise descriptive language used within is a joy to the reader. This is a great starting point for new readers to the Chung Kuo series.

GS Rating 5/5

GS Reporters: Whatotherway, Montoya

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