Many years have passed since the events in The Deaths of Tao: the world is split into pro-Prophus and pro-Genjix factions, and is poised on the edge of a devastating new World War; the Prophus are hiding; and Roen has a family to take care of.
A Genjix scientist who defects to the other side holds the key to preventing bloodshed on an almost unimaginable scale.
With the might of the Genjix in active pursuit, Roen is the only person who can help him save the world, and the Quasing race, too.
And you thought you were having a stressful day…
Wesley Chu is a force to be reckoned with – I once called him the coolest writer in science fiction – and this explosive debut of his will grab you by the lapels and throw you across the room! In a good way, of course. – Lavie Tidhar
"A totally original sci-fi thriller that will have you hooked from page one with both riveting action and a sly wit. This is a story of human history, the hidden powers that have shaped it, and one man's transformation from complete nobody to a key fighter in the war for humanity's future."– Ramez Naam, author of Nexus
"Few books begin more engagingly than The Lives of Tao, a science fiction romp which wears its principal strength – the wit and humor of the narrative voice – on its sleeve."– Huffington Post
What is the meaning of this? Do you know who I am? I will have your skulls!
Huchel, Genjix Council – Eastern Hemisphere, when apprehended by Interpol Extraterrestrial Task Force while trying to flee Germany following the Great Betrayal
The problem Vladimir had with this damn country was that everything was too damn big. The cars were too big, the music was too loud, and the ridiculous trees in this forest were too tall. The raggedy group he led detoured around the giant redwood tree blocking his path. Blasted thing was big as a house. And the stupid trees weren't even red, though in this pitch-black darkness, he could barely see Alex clinging to his hand, let alone determine the color of tree bark. His eyes wandered up to the forest canopy. It was so thick he couldn't see the stars. That made it nearly impossible to navigate. Where the hell was south?
At least the food portions here were healthy. That was something Vladimir approved of. He'd never had such a large breakfast before, much less in the middle of the night. Who eats burritos with five eggs in the middle of the night, anyway? His little group did, and to be honest, it was pretty good. It was too bad the meal had been two days ago.
"I need to rest," Sachin said, leaning against the too-damn-tall tree. He propped his rifle against it and slid down to the mossy ground.
Vladimir reminded himself that the seventy year-old Indian man had spent the majority of his life in a classroom at the Institute of Technology, recruiting promising students for the cause. The professor wasn't used to running around the forest in the middle of the night, fleeing armed assailants. Vladimir looked down at his daughter and gave her a gentle nudge. She pulled out a canteen and walked over to Sachin, who drank his fill, pouring water down his chin and neck, letting it dribble down his shirt. Alex took out a rag and wiped the old man's brow. Vladimir shook his head. She was a good girl, so much potential. She deserved better than this.
Somewhere in the distance, the barking of dogs in pursuit pierced the otherwise quiet night. Vladimir closed his eyes and listened. Twenty, maybe thirty minutes behind. His gaze moved from his daughter and Sachin to the other refugees: Petr, a Russian colonel he had had dealings with in the past, Rin, the Japanese nuclear physicist, Marsuka, her research assistant, Ohr, the former South Korean Senator, and the remaining survivors of the Siberian Epsilon Shock team.
He grimaced. His entire life had collapsed in the blink of an eye. His fortune confiscated, his wife murdered, and now he was nothing more than a destitute refugee with a teenage daughter in a land unfriendly to his kind, a far cry from the affluent businessman and power broker he had been just a few weeks earlier. He looked back at Alex, still helping the old professor. Well, at least part of his wife escaped. Tabs would continue living in his daughter.
Move. Every second of delay is costly.
"Break is over," he barked. "We go. Now."
He walked over, hooked an arm under Sachin's armpit, and lifted him to his feet. "Let's go, old man. You can rest when you're safe. Or dead." He looked over at his daughter standing on the other side of the elderly professor. "Alex, help him walk."