Son of Heaven by David Wingrove
Son of Heaven is the first book in David Wingrove’s new Chung Kuo series, and sets it around 2050 in a world, which has suffered a complete collapse back into a roughly pre-industrial society. This is a reworking of the eight-book Chung Kuo series published between 1989 and 1997, which is now being republished as eighteen shorter novels, with two new prequel novels, of which this is the first.
The action focuses on Jake, who before the Collapse was a ‘dancer’ on the stock market – looking for investment opportunities by being immersed in a virtual world. When the attack comes he escapes London and ends up bringing up his son in a rural village. Twenty years later, airships appear on the horizon. The Chinese are coming.
Overall I think this is a pretty solid but not particularly exciting example of post-apocalyptic fiction. I found the world pre-Collapse interesting, particularly the descriptions of the virtual stock market. I don’t know whether Tron was an influence but that is how I image the immersion of Jake in the datascape. Companies form what I imagined as a terrain of crystalline structures, all different shapes and with different feels and smells depending upon their health. Then the attacks begin and companies are obliterated from the market, leaving putrid devastation. The market then collapses and technology begins to crumble, breaking down the barriers between the privileged city dwellers and those who live outside the walls in slums. After the collapse it’s every man and woman for themselves, and even twenty years later, gangs and groups of refugees still roam England, meaning that communities have to remain on guard.
My problem is though is that I just don’t buy it. Jake is living in a small village community in the English county of Dorset. If the whole world has collapsed into madness, even twenty years later why on earth would an invading force turn up in its airships and start rounding up people in rural south west England? It comes across as though the author loves the place and wanted to get it into a novel, which is the same with the references to Philip K Dick and Jimi Hendrix, which I also wouldn’t be surprised if the author was partial to. Also, a lot of the characters just really get on my nerves. Jake comes across at the beginning as a stereotypical banker, running about in his high-flying job so fair enough, but he talks to his girlfriend / fiancée like she’s about twelve. The entire world is going to pot and he doesn’t want to worry her pretty little head about it. It really wound me up. Also, he escapes and comes across this little Dorset village and they give him some sort of trial before accepting him into the community. There would have been a hell of a lot of refugees running away from the cities, was every person who wandered past given a trial as well? I’m going to leave it there but a mix of implausible situations and reactions from people just made me care very little when the invasion started.
I haven’t read the original series so maybe people who have would get more out of this, but unfortunately this doesn’t make me want to read the next nineteen books.
This Son of Heaven book review was written by Cat Fitzpatrick
Have you read Son of Heaven?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Son of Heaven reader reviews
6/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothi...
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels ag...
The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boun...
Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen – from the Pres...
Oryx and Crake
Snowman may be the last man on earth, the only survivor of an unnamed apocalypse. Once he was Jimmy, a member of a scientific elite; now he lives in bitter isolation and lo...
The Last Man Standing
Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside. Leonardo wa...
The Drowned World
Fluctuations in solar radiation have melted the ice caps, sending the planet into a new Triassic Age of unendurable heat. London is a swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows ...
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
John Joseph Adams
Famine, death, war, pestilence. These are said to be the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse-Armageddon. The End of the World. Whether by nuclear warfare, a biological di...
The Crystal World
Through a ‘leaking’ of time, the West African jungle starts to crystallize. Trees metamorphose into enormous jewels. Crocodiles encased in second glittering ski...
Emily St John Mandel
What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty. One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whil...
An illness spreads through an unnamed city. It has only one symptom: blindness. It comes without fanfare, pain, or warning. One moment a man waits in his car at the traffic...
The Reapers are the Angels
God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe... Older than her years and completely alone, Temp...
Legends of the Red Sun
Mark Charan Newton
An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur. It’s a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshe...
The Return Man
The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness. They call it the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco ma...
A modern Britain. An age-old cruelty. Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
What are Strungballs? Ten-year-old Sydney is about to find out... but first he must have a cube of his flesh removed. Sydney will transgress everything he was taught to believ...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Forced by necessity into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew struggle to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt for his lost wife continues. But the Tower of Babel is proving to be as difficult to re-enter as it was to escape.Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help fro...
The Wolves of Winter
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. L...
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her al...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...