Book 1 of the Hunt for Pierre Jnr trilogy
Paperback, 416 pages
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Greetings Brave Adventurers,
This sci-fi political thriller by debut novelist David Henley is an intelligent and enthralling read.
The Hunt for Pierre Jnr is set in a world that felt to me as though it could be scarily prophetic. Global warming has caused worldwide famine, and the resulting social upheaval has left what remains of the world’s population scattered across a few habitable hubs. The world has become a smaller place than ever, and humanity is connected by the Weave, a matrix-style interface of all human thought and knowledge. Democracy has reached its ultimate level; politicians are elected and dethroned at the whim of the Will, the general consensus of the entire populace at any given time. This raised some very interesting propositions regarding political maneuvering, and spotlighted the ever-present political question of doing what is right versus doing what is popular. (I also wondered why the world wasn’t run by the lead singer of the latest boy band, but I was prepared to let that slide.)
Enter the psis; an outcast group of mutant humans, who can read minds (tappers), move objects (benders), and in some cases, control other people’s thoughts and feelings. Normal humans, terrified of the psis’ potential power, have repressed them and contained them to islands. Think X-men without the parochial American setting.
Henley has developed a baddie who could arguably be the most ultimately unstoppable force I’ve ever encountered on the page. I just kept thinking, “how can you stop this kid?” Pierre Jnr is a psi of incalculable strength. Eight years old and lacking a moral compass to the point of sociopathic, Pierre Jnr can (and does) control people to do his every whim, make people believe he is not there, turn people’s brain to baby food, and flatten whole cities with a thought. (I thought maybe the protagonist should pop over to X-men and ask Magneto if he could borrow his silly hat, but since Pierre Jr could crush the hat with your brain in it, it probably wouldn’t be worth the trip.)
Like many sci-fi adventures, some character development is sacrificed for the sake of plot and exploration of the premise. Henley plays out the threat of Pierre Jr on a world stage, with all of the political ramifications and machinations that ensue. To that end, this was a complex read, with several POVs, lots of political manoeuvring, and cool futuristic technology.
I particularly enjoyed Henley’s use of a tapper (mind reader) as protagonist. Having a main POV character that can read minds was a very clever authorial device, allowing Henley to write in omniscient (describing other character’s emotions and thoughts) whilst still remaining in close third POV. A very clever trick, and one I’m squirrelling away.
I had been warned that The Hunt for Pierre Junior ended on a cliffhanger. I’m not a fan of the cliffhanger ending, and was glad that it wasn’t a cliffhanger as such – rather it ended with the gauntlet being thrown down, and bigger things looming on the horizon. I’ll take that challenge, Mr Henley, and am looking forward to continuation of the story in Manifestations.
A powerful novel, delving into ideas of acceptance, fear and mass consensus.
9/10 symbiotic dragons
About the Author
David Henley does a few things. Primarily he writes stuff and has ideas. He runs Seizure (www.seizureonline.com), works for Xoum (www.xoum.com.au) and does special contract and publishing jobs for the creative industries.
The Hunt for Pierre Jnr is his first major release, but has some quirky and obscure works in his shady past
About the Novel: The Hunt for Pierre Jnr (Book 1 of the Pierre Jnr Trilogy)
He can make you forget, he can control you and he is only eight years old. Three months after his birth he escaped. An hour later he was lost to surveillance. No one knows where he has been for the last eight years … Now Pierre Jnr is about to return.
THE HUNT FOR PIERRE JNR follows the activities of an elite group dedicated to tracking down the eight-year-old boy who is currently the greatest threat humanity has ever known. It′s a pacy and gripping chase, and an impressive vision of our future.
Read the first 80 pages in this sampler.
‘A fantastic look at the idea of human prejudice and fear… He [David M Henley] has the potential to be another Peter F Hamilton or Daniel Suarez…’ – Fantasy Book Review
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