Five hundred years after Earth has become a barren, unpleasant wasteland, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. A religious sect known as the New Earth Tribunal is pretty much in charge and it reigns from New Earth – which is on Mars. There are a few voices of dissent however, most notably from the mining colonies near Ceres. When several Tribune ships are hijacked and their precious cargo of Gravitum are stolen, the Tribune is forced to call in the genius ex-Tribune Cassius Vale. Unfortunately for them, it is Vale who is responsible for the hijackings (along with a double-hard android). The Tribune also has highly trained assassins at their disposal, so they dispatch one of them – a hot female assassin called Sage Volus – to infiltrate the Ceresians and see if she can find anything out. She soon finds herself as part of a crew led by a charismatic ex-mercenary called Talon Rayne.
I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous about reading The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno. I always am with new authors that I have never previously heard of. Thankfully, the anxiety was misplaced. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you read a lot of science fiction then there will be nothing all that new but there are still some pretty cool ideas and it is well executed. The story moves at a cracking pace with some great set action pieces. When things kick off, Bruno writes excitingly with plenty of bullets, bloodshed and bad-assery.
The characters in The Circuit: Executor Rising are particularly good in a slightly morally ambiguous kind of way. Cassius Vale and his robot ADIM are the antagonists but they are believable. Vale is an advocate of ‘the ends justify the means’ and he wants to take down the Tribune no matter how many people die. He also has a strange father/son thing going on with ADIM which adds an extra element to the story. Sage Volus is a pretty awesome hot female assassin with a bionic arm. At first she is a bit too religious to be fully likeable but she develops throughout the novel and has her own set of issues. Talon Rayne is immediately likeable even though a slightly murkier past is hinted at. Think the characters of Firefly and you will be pretty close. Likeable-rogue type of fellows.
There are enough fun ideas and well executed settings to make Rhett C Bruno’s book a highly entertaining read. Couple that with a fast paced plot and some great characters and you have thoroughly enjoyable space opera on your hands. I look forward to more in the series.
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