Review

Flight of Shadows

by Sigmund Brouwer

Sigmund Brouwer is an author who seldom disappoints, and his
latest release could be used as Exhibit A in proving why that is.
In FLIGHT OF SHADOWS, he nails every element of satisfying
futuristic fiction with the skills, talent, and passion of an
author who chooses craftsmanship over mass production.

FLIGHT OF SHADOWS is the sequel to Brouwer's 2008 release,
BROKEN ANGEL, but he is such a gifted writer that there's never a
moment when a reader new to the series feels lost in this follow-up
story. His writing is such that the reader wants to read
the first book rather than feel that she has to in order
to figure out what's going on. Brouwer seamlessly picks up the
story line from BROKEN ANGEL and continues it without missing a
beat.

And it's a terrifying story line, one that is all too believable
to anyone who recognizes the blessings, curses, and failures of
technology. Brouwer creates a society in which the blessings of DNA
experimentation turn into an apparent curse, and science's failure
to overcome drought results in conflict that irreversibly changes
the political landscape and structure of the U.S. This new society,
only a few generations in the future, is inhabited by four classes
of people: the Influentials, those who have virtually all of the
wealth and power; the Industrials, whose work permits allow them to
enter the newly created city-states to make a living; the Illegals,
those who lack the necessary paperwork and are forced to live in
abject poverty; and the Invisibles, those, like a young woman named
Caitlyn Brown, who need to live under the radar, for varying
reasons.

For Caitlyn, being an Invisible is essential to her survival. A
product of DNA experimentation gone wrong, Caitlyn has escaped the
Christian theocracy of Appalachia in search of the one man who can
correct her lab-induced deformity. But close on her heels is a
bounty hunter whose Influential backers know that her DNA is a
priceless commodity, along with several other government and
private parties. In her effort to remain invisible, she connects
with a streetwise guy named Razor, whose boast of being "fast,
sharp, and dangerous" proves to be grounded in reality and
essential to Caitlyn's survival.

Meanwhile, Billy and Theo, two of Caitlyn's friends who also
escaped from Appalachia, eagerly but cautiously anticipate a
pre-arranged reunion with her, unaware that their every move is
being tracked by government agents who know the value of Caitlyn's
DNA and the plans Billy and Theo have to meet up with her.

All of that makes for a lot of lightning-fast chases through
streets and subterranean passageways, penthouses, and shanty towns,
in and around the city-state known as DC, with Caitlyn and friends
doing whatever it takes to elude those who are relentlessly
pursuing her. But FLIGHT OF SHADOWS is so much more than
Hollywood-style entertainment --- though it certainly is that. It's
also a look at an all-too-believable future fraught with terrifying
possibilities: of weapons whose sole purpose is to create
widespread fear and panic, of the high moral cost of genetic
experimentation, of the repercussions of illegal immigration, and
of the consequences of oppressive governmental control, with the
end result being a bleak and hopeless dystopian society.

But Brouwer doesn't leave the reader in a bleak and hopeless
state, nor does he wave a magic wand and make the world he created
a better place. Instead, he lifts the gloomy darkness and sheds
light on a new world far from the city-state of DC, one that begs
to be fleshed out in a subsequent book --- hopefully with the
intriguing character of Razor making a comeback.

Reviewed by Marcia Ford (misfit@marciaford.com) on January 22, 2011

Flight of Shadows
by Sigmund Brouwer

  • Publication Date: May 18, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press
  • ISBN-10: 1400070333
  • ISBN-13: 9781400070336