Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mariposa and Quantico by Greg Bear

In the near future, the United States is threatened by bio-terror, state succession, religious fanatics, and bankruptcy. Sounds timely, no? Fortunately, a diverse group of FBI agents rise from their training to save the republic and set the stage for a New World Order.
Welcome to the latest two novels in "hard" science fiction writer Greg Bear's Queen of Angels series.
Bear has always been known for his cutting-edge science application to the craft of fiction. His characers are compelling, but not essential to the plot. Most of his books peak at a specific event which is crucial to the plot. In Mariposa and Quantico, he's ventured into Ken Follet territory by applying his style to contemporary thrillers. And by setting the books a few years into the future, he isn't stuck with creating a whole Brave New World. It works quite well, actually. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the conclusion of each novel.
Major characters carry over from one book to the next. We are introduced to a team of stalwarts trying to complete their final training at the FBI center in Quantico: a Muslim american, the son of a famous FBI, among others. Bear seems most concerned with his heroic Muslim FBI agent, Fuad, making me wonder if he isn't saving the character for something bigger in future books. Most of the trainees reappear in the next book, Mariposa, as full-fledged agents.
Both books are exceptionally well-written and I'm looking for more in the series

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