When this author goes big, he really goes big. As you should know from the first book, we have a “squad” or “platoon” of mechanized soldiers out on the middle east desert. These soldiers appear to be all robots and definitely not human. They are, in fact, robots with human minds or engrams, at least some of them are. Instead of having an artificial intelligence like a normal robot or android, the A. I. in the Cicadas model are created from previously frozen human brains. There engrams are uploaded into the A. I. container and through a process of recovery, these former humans are brought back to life but now inside mechanical/electro robot bodies. The experience is not easy and many don’t make the transition. These new A.I.s or Cicadas models are referred to as Mind Refurbs. They are all military and preprogrammed to fight.
Now they’ve come across something that even they may not be able to defeat. An alien entity has decided to conquer Earth and set about directing a massive gamma burst against the European/Middle East continents virtually wiping out all forms of life. Only those who were heavily shielded or deep under ground survived the blast. Fortunately for the “Bolt Eaters”, they had military-spec shielding and mostly survived intact. Now they find that the alien enemy has released some biological creatures that feast on the humans that’s left on the planet. Additionally, the aliens have released very tiny metal-eating termites. These things move in swarms and eat anything and everything made of metal. That would definitely include the Bolt Eaters if the Cicadas hadn’t rigged up a electrical shield that prevents them from landing. Still, some of the platoon members don’t have the capability to create such a shield so it’s still very important that they avoid these termite swarms.
So far, it appears that the aliens have wiped out everything in this part of the world. The Bolt Eaters believe they are the only entities in this entire region so they have to find a way back to the Americas and warn them of what’s coming as if they didn’t know. Along they way, they fight numerous battles with the biological creations of the aliens. These creatures are armed with some advanced weaponry. It would be advantages to the Bolt Eaters if they could acquire those weapons and the related technology, without getting killed, of course.
Pretty fast paced book. It also deals a lot with Mind Refurbs that previously had suppressed emotions so they could cope with their new life situation. One of the Mind Refurbs was a previous programmer before he died so he makes an effort to release the Bolt Eaters from those suppressed emotions. One problem with their suppressed emotions is they cannot fire on anyone or any thing unless attacked first. That could definitely get them all killed given their current situation.
But, what effects does having all your human emotions back knowing that you are now a killing machine and nothing much more. Are you even human any more and if not, just what are you? Some tough thoughts are going through the Bolt Eaters as they also try to stay alive.
Book 3, “Rebooted” is already out and I’m going to tackle it pretty soon.