In The Burning Skies, David J. Williams manages to exceed the expectations set by his incredible debut novel, The Mirrored Heavens. This is no mean task. The Mirrored Heavens was a pure adrenaline rush and The Burning Skies picks up right where it left off. Quite literally in fact. The action in The Burning Skies kicks off days after the climax of The Mirrored Heavens. The terrorist group Autumn Rain’s plans to spark a war between Earth’s remaining super powers have been thwarted. To root out the remnants of Autumn Rain, the US sets a trap on a neutral space platform using the President as bait.
All of the key characters from The Mirrored Heavens have returned and the first two-thirds of the book deal with their efforts to save the president. The pace is every bit as relentless as that of the first book and the multiple character threads kept me turning pages at an equally relentless pace. Though the pace of the first book left me exhausted and a little burned out by the end, I was sucked right back into the world that Williams has created and realized that I had missed it greatly.
When The Burning Skies really shines in my mind, however, is the last third. Once the action stops the intrigue begins. Not that there is a lack of action in the final third of the novel, but that action is woven around a series of slowly revealing plots. Characters in the Autumn Rain books are often in the dark with regard to the events unfolding around them. Minds are wiped, memories are implanted and mission details are revealed in realtime as the need to know arises. The readers are kept guessing right along with the characters and our perceptions are repeatedly shifted in dramatic ways.
The final book in the Autumn Rain trilogy comes out in May and I am eagerly awaiting it. I’ll take the time between now and then to breathe a little.