Centricity Cycle: Book 1
In a condemned hotel, an intelligence operation to retrieve a DNA-altering bioweapon goes horribly wrong, sparking a scandal that could bring down an agency ... and a city along with it.
Adasha Denali resolves disputes for Naion—using words, not weapons. But with her agency under fire and her mentor fed to the wolves, she’ll have to get her hands dirty. Racing to discover who’s undermining Naion’s security and why, Adasha runs headlong into corporate mercs, an engineered spy, and a man losing his mind to a new form of intelligence.
Meanwhile, the once-great immersion hacker Neon Nik is on the ugly side of broke, struggling to pay off circling loan sharks. When he inherits a piece of advanced tech that throws him into Adasha’s path, threats of dismemberment become the least of his problems. Now he’s got a vortex of hired killers on his heels and a decision to make: sell out or suit up.
Tropes: Ancient Weapon, Antihero, Becoming a Monster, Body Modifications, Clones, Conspiracy, Dystopian Governments, Evil Megacorporation, Fallen Hero, Post-Apocalyptic, Reluctant Hero, Sentient AI
Word Count: 139,000
Setting: Earth Megacity
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
NIK SMILED AND the building smiled back, its façade all black teeth angles and white gum signage held together with cables and fat tendrils of epoxy. Poetry curled along the bulging geometry, hand-painted in dead Persian. He’d never bothered to have his software translate it. In an age of information bloat, ignorance was a proactive sport.
Above the entryway a single word blazed: HALE.
Two store fronts down, a woman rested against the shell of a mutilated cleaning bot. The glow of her cig warmed her blank expression. Another silhouetted figure pissed into a gap between buildings.READ MORE
Hands in his pockets, Nik rolled his too small shoulders in his too big jacket. Soft with age, the leather made no sound. Canopy environmental systems kept temperatures chilly or warm but never quite comfortable. He coughed and thought about clearing his throat onto the sidewalk, decided not to—didn’t want to waste the residue of his last Cinnamon Fire—and crossed the street to Hale. Underfoot, a trampled stew of discard formed the menu of some future archaeological buffet.
The air inside hinted at decomposing animals in heating ducts. Ironic, considering this was the Canopy’s premier breather bar, where patrons sucked down spiked air cocktails.COLLAPSE
CENTRICITY by Nathaniel Henderson: supercharged spy-fi that delivers a real tango in your temple!
CENTRICITY is an immersive and atmospheric novel that blends sci-fi, espionage and thriller elements. Henderson’s world-building is particularly impressive, providing vivid descriptions of a society coping with unchecked exponential technological growth and rampant global environmental deterioration. His masterful wordcraft adds an authenticity to how life would feel in a future world where augmented reality technology is omnipotent.
The action is based in the city-sphere of ’Naion’, a self-sustaining arcology protected from an environmentally damaged Earth. Humans possess immersive technology, ‘synts’, a brain-machine interface linked to the ‘Nebula’ file system, heightening their capacity to investigate, interrogate or flee.
Characters are thrust into a complex narrative that make for a challenging read. The dialogue, often amusing and witty, offsets the evocative technical discourse on Naion’s vanguard technology. There's action too, in the fight and flee scenes, described in exquisite detail and incorporating a heady mix of the senses - taste, touch, sight, sound and synt. This is a necessarily long novel as the main characters, Nik, Adasha, Voros and Rown methodically untangle the facts and sift through multi-layered leads.
In short, CENTRICITY has something for everyone.
It's by no means an easy read as the author develops multiple plot lines and multiple POVs in a world of spies and their unwitting targets. For me, this made for a rewarding experience, although a more comprehensive index of characters and organisations than the one offered would have assisted.
I strongly recommend this engrossing dystopian tale of the future. Readers of cyberpunk novels such as Gibson’s Neuromancer should thoroughly enjoy CENTRICITY. 5 Stars