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The Mirrored Heavens [Paperback]

David J. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 20 2008
In this thrilling debut, David J. Williams delivers a hard-hitting blend of military SF and dystopian cyberpunk, set in a futuristic landscape where hostilities rage from the Eastern and Western hemispheres to the outer ranges of space.

In the 22nd century, the first wonder of a brave new world is the Phoenix Space Elevator, designed to give mankind greater access to the frontier beyond Earth. Built by the U.S./Pan-Asian Coalition, the Elevator is also a grand symbol of superpower alliance following a second cold war. And it’s just been destroyed.

The South American insurgent group Autumn Rain claims responsibility for the attack, but with suspicions rampant, armies and espionage teams are mobilized across the globe and beyond. Enter Claire Haskell and Jason Marlowe, U.S. counterintelligence agents, and former lovers—though their memories may only be constructs implanted by their spymaster. Forced to set aside the enigma of their past, their agenda is to trust no one. For in a time of shifting loyalties, the enemy could be anyone—from a shadowy assassin working a questionable mission on the dark side of the moon, to a Euro data thief working under deep cover and wooed into a dangerous pact.

As the crisis mounts, and the search for Autumn Rain spans both Earth and Moon, the lives of all those involved will converge in one explosive finale—and a startling aftermath that will rewrite everything they’ve ever known—about their mission, their world, and themselves

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Review

"A crackling cyberthriller. This is Tom Clancy interfacing Bruce Sterling. David Williams has hacked into the future."—Stephen Baxter, author of the Manifold series

"The Mirrored Heavens presents an action-jammed and audacious look at a terrifyingly plausible future. By comparison to Williams' future, the present mess surrounding the Iraq conflict seems almost benign. Highly recommended for politicians, not that most would wish to see where their actions could easily lead."—L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The Mirrored Heavens is a complex view of global politics in time of crisis.  Williams understands that future wars will be fought as much on-line as off.  It's also rousing adventure with breathless, non-stop action—Tom Clancy on speed.  And you will NOT be able to guess the ending.”—Nancy Kress, author of the Probability trilogy 

"Explodes out the gate like a sonic boom and never stops. Adrenaline bleeds from Williams' fingers with every word he hammers into the keyboard. The razors of The Mirrored Heavens would eat cyberpunk's old-guard hackers and cowboys as a light snack."—Peter Watts, author of Blindsight

The Mirrored Heavens presents an action-jammed and audacious look at a terrifyingly plausible future. By comparison to Williams' future, the present mess surrounding the Iraq conflict seems almost benign. Highly recommended for politicians, not that most would wish to see where their actions could easily lead.”—L. E. Modesitt, Jr., bestselling author of the Saga of Recluse series, the Spellsong Cycle series, and the Corean Chronicles series

"The Mirrored Heavens is a 21st century Neuromancer set in a dark, dystopian future where nothing and no one can be trusted, the razors who rule cyberspace are predators and prey, and ordinary human life is cheap. It starts out at full throttle and accelerates all the way to the end." —Jack Campbell, author of The Lost Fleet: Courageous

“Calling to mind Clint Eastwood and Dirty Harry more than Humphrey Bogart and Philip Marlowe, The Mirrored Heavens' action is wild and relentless…. In a welcome respite from noir stereotyping, Williams' female protagonist is neither killed nor kidnapped. A subject, not an object, Claire Haskell moves and shakes her dystopic world.”—Seattle Times

"Non-stop action propels the reader forward. Like William Styron's Sophie's Choice, characters face horrific decisions involving mass destruction of innocents and murder of close friends and allies.”—Sfrevu.com

“A powerful, rapid-fire sf adventure/intrigue story with echoes of cyberpunk.”—Library Journal

About the Author

David J. Williams was born in Hertfordshire, England. He lives in Washington, D.C. The Mirrored Heavens is his first novel.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Successor to Neuromancer... March 30 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this up on the whim because of the quotes written on it being a contender and a spiritual successor to Neuromancer, which I fell in love with, and I wasn't disappointed by what I read. This is really a book that takes what Neuromancer created a World where technology rules and is the factor of power on a global scale. This is a World that has been broken into two separate blocs of power with the US and its hemisphere of influence and the Eurasian Coalition, and then there are the neutrals. Each Superpower Bloc seeks to have peace and stability by working together on a massive project "The Elevator" which would help propel humanity into Space and beyond the planets of Sol (our Sun)...that is until a mysterious group decides to sabotage this massive undertaking and sending the World and the two Superpowers at each others throats into a Third World War as suspicion is thrown by both sides.

There are about 4 main characters whose stories arch, twist and meld with one another even though they are either in Space, on the Moon, or in the bowels of the Earth. Each contribute to the story a complex narrative but this is fixed by the simple use by the author of assigning little symbols at the beginning of each scene or chapter that denotes which characters are in this section of reading. At first it was a little off putting and confusing what the symbols represented, but trust me, as you lose yourself in the action, intrigue and mayhem that is doled out in each chapter a little symbol notation helps you keep track of what is happening next without flipping back a few pages to make sure you're keeping track of whose doing what and where.

As a first novel by Mr. Williams, in my honest opinion, he knocked this baby out of the ballpark!
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harder, denser, faster cyberpunk with more guns, politics, and head-churning twists May 24 2008
By Derek Zumsteg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked up Mirrored Heavens and almost fifty pages later I realized I'd lost an hour and was staring at my book with my jaw a little open. I felt like someone had stomped an accelerator pedal connected to a part of my brain that hadn't fired up in years. It's almost dizzying.

It's amazingly fast-paced, engrossing, too plausible, scary, thrilling, and a little bit joyous as it runs as fast as it can.

This book is for you if:
- You long for a good cyberpunk tone, like Burning Chrome, or Glass Hammer, if you know what I'm talking about
- You like a good techno thriller
- You want to read a distinctive new scifi voice
- You like the tangled political landscapes of a La Carre novel

It may not be for you if:
- You prefer the tone and pace of a Foundation novel over Neuromancer - you're not going to get clear, broken-out exposition, for instance
- You need chapter breaks
- You don't like present tense

I wanted to be able to buy the next one immediately after finishing this book -- I liked it that much.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost Good. July 31 2008
By TheAdlerian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just finished the book and trust me, I don't think that this review needs a "Spoilers" warning for the reader, and I'll tell you why.

Before I do, I have to say that the story has a lot of action if you're in the mood for it and some interesting settings. However, I can't provide spoilers because I have no clear idea about what happened. Of course, I know WHAT happened but I'm not sure WHY it happened.

That's because the book is narrated as if the events were viewed by a person living in another dimension. As if they have no concept of the players, their philosophies, their technology, or their motivations. We just get scene after scene of interesting, yet fairly meaningless, activity. It's as if a cowboy from the 19th century decided to tell you his impression of the Mideast war as seen through a crystal ball.

It was vague to the extreme---but still interesting.

The author, if he plans on writing more, needs to bore us with the details. Without a little bit of world building the story borders on dull and hard to care about. I was having trouble figuring out who to like in the story, and one guy, I still don't know who he is.

I'd like to say that I have several grad degrees in a complex verbally oriented subject, so I know how to read and comprehend. The author made it tough to do that.

Although I'm saying negative things, seemingly, I'm actually asking the author to do a better job. He clearly has a good concept in mind, and I'd like him to tell us about it.

Cyberpunk:

Get rid of that.

You're writing something more like "cyberpro" and it needs to sound like it.

Cyberpunk frequently features uneducated outcast types who "know cyberspace" and so their narration is like that of a laconic teenager chewing gum, or something along those lines.

The text of this book was written like that with short sentences and the repeated use of "says" after the dialogue, much like a kid would say. However, the subject isn't about that, and has to do with super highly trained people, some of which may never have been exposed to pop culture.

The "punk" needs to be fixed.
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cyberpunk? Not even close! Just combat porn. Oct. 16 2008
By Taryntoo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tedious. I gave up 100 pages into the fight scene that the book opened with. And the writing? Don't get me started! Check this out, supposedly the mental process of a master hacker, a network infiltrator:

"Haskell focuses on a series of lines that carry particularly heavy traffic Each line winds through buildings. Each terminates in what appears to be a dead end. But something's crouching at each of those ends. Something that seems to be winding up through incremental stages of activation. Even as she takes this in, she's noticing the same thing going down in other cities.... In each city, it's the same: communications back and forth. Things being queried. Things responding...but what does it mean? Is this a pattern she's just now seeing? Is something changing? Is this the key to it all? Was this happening already? She can't figure it out."

Uh... what that means is there's TCP traffic on the wires. Queries, replies, communication back and forth? Yep that would be network traffic for sure. Want to know what it means? Don't just sit there marveling over data flow, crack open a packet and inspect the content!

The good news, such as it is: It's not just the women who are depicted with barren mental landscapes. All the characters are cardboard cutouts, idiots just blasting away at everything that moves. The whole book is a first person shooter, but without even the satisfaction of pulling the trigger yourself.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful. Awful writing. April 28 2009
By Oliver W. Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This review will be written. In the same style. As the author writes in this book. Ridiculously short sentences. Fragments. Bland characterizations without depth.

Do not buy. This book is awful. If you want fast-paced writing with interesting characters. Look up Jeff Somers or John Scalzi.

Enjoy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent futuristic political action thriller! June 9 2008
By A. Lau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Damn. David J. Williams can write. This is one of the few books that I've read that live up to the all the author endorsed blurbs on the cover. I haven't read much cyperpunk, but I enjoyed this book. The twisted political intrigues, the unflinching action sequences, and the vision of a world in detente on the verge of breakpoint is simply masterful. This book however, does NOT sanitize war, and if realistic violence disturbs you, this book might not be for you.

But damn what an ending! I'm definitely looking forward to the next book!
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