Lucifer by dhtreichler

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It’s 100 years in the future, and a man, a woman and The Ayatollah have come together to ensure lasting World Peace.

This remarkable Triumvirate is at the heart of a brilliant new book by dhtreichler, in which the global economy has become thoroughly interwoven, and no one fights wars anymore. Instead, the planet’s residents simply live vicariously through fire teams from different world blocs, who try to eliminate each other every four years in a fantastic virtual arena. No real blood or dying.

It’s an arresting prospect, this idea of a small group channeling and controlling man’s eons-old desire to dominate.

The Ayatollah, representing the Gulf League, is joined by Li Shu, a man affiliated with Eastern, Inc., and Dalton, the only woman in the Triumvirate, on behalf of the Western Nations. Together, these three — along with a Master of the Games — decide the different software variables that are programmed into the MegaSim Arena where every four years teams from each of the three world blocs compete in terribly realistic firefights that are beamed via WorldVision into every home, in every corner of the planet.

The objective of the World Combat Cup is actually not so much to assuage aggression in the masses anymore, although that’s certainly a side benefit. No, this year, the Cup is being fought to get peoples’ minds off stultifying unemployment, trillions of dollars of international debt, and ever-worsening world hunger and debilitating thirst.

To bring added zest to this year’s event, a Challenge — in the form of a Death Match — has been issued by the Gulf League, and the Western Nations must find a way to win seven consecutive matches — or face still more dire economic results.

The grisly difference in this contest is, it’s not virtual. If you die in combat during the seventh match, you stay dead. That sort of barbarism hasn’t happened in a hundred years — primarily due to the creation long ago of a robotic decimation machine named Lucifer, the penultimate world policeman.

And just to make doubly sure the Western Nations don’t win, Lucifer is being brought back online and set against the heroes of the West. The stakes are high, indeed, and tension mounts on every page.

This unique and thoroughly imaginative story is told in alternating viewpoints by the principal players — including an achingly vulnerable young man named Rob Roy, who is desperately in love from afar with the gorgeous TV host of the World Combat Cup. He also becomes an unlikely folk hero after trading in his position as an apprentice to Zenith, Master of the Games, for a Warrior slot in the Cup.

There’s even an unrequited love element running through the chapters, and the reader twists and yearns along with the patiently waiting Malala, who bravely fights in the Cup at one point, disguised as a male member of the Western States team.

This book is a saga, and the author imbues the concept with a great deal of realism, both in the simulated firefights used to train Warriors, and in the subtle maneuvering amongst the world leaders. The reader is literally in the minds of each of the characters as the story rolls like a Juggernaut toward its exciting — and unexpected — conclusion.

Join Rob Roy and his futuristic A Team as they fight the good fight against overwhelming odds and scheming antagonists in this riveting read. It rates five-plus stars for its sheer scope and brilliant execution.

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