“In the year 4324, technology has all but failed mankind, leaving a large social and economic gap between the wealthy that live in the tower, and everyone one else surviving in levels below the surface of the earth.
Private detective, Smoke Callahan, already escaped the lower levels, but a suspicious case involving an elite tower resident will take Smoke back into the troubled depths of his past, and will thrust him headlong into a collision with a secret that the very pit of the earth hides. Smoke is faced with the toughest choices no man should have to make in a race against evil that will use the secret to bring death and destruction to all of humanity.”
I have also reviewed these books by Quinn Buckland:
I am once again amazed by Quinn Buckland’s work. “The Engine What Runs the World” is an intriguing approach to an apocalyptic scenario. Set in the 4300s, we’re given historic details as to how the world has come to be one of minimal technology where the gap between the wealthy who live in the sky and that of the poor who live beneath the ground has never been higher.
It follows Smoke, an elite private investigator who has been tasked with finding the runaway daughter of an upper class family. The job seems shady from the start, but what the journey has in store for the protagonist is horrifyingly unexpected. As Smoke descends the levels, journeying deeper into hostile territory, he is confronted by people from his past who all pose their own threat to his success.
Although a very likeable character, Smoke has a dark history with the mafia-like Cartel and the Nagara slave traders. Regardless of these ties however, it seems the most brutal part of his adventure goes even deeper. His incredible capabilities has him uncovering bitter realities and gruesome consequences as he learns more about the secret nature of the machine and people responsible for both the livable conditions of the current world and its inability to progress.
The dark aspects of this book grow as you continue reading until it seems every moment is a graphic depiction of cruelty and despair. That being said, the ending isn’t entirely grim and could even be called a happy one despite the horrors that have befallen the characters in the process.
As with “Fallen Gods,” my favorite part of this book is the philosophical and political points it makes. They’re a bit more subtle in this story, but they’re there. They include the comments on the division of people by class, history repeating itself, the folly of revolution, technological progress vs evolution, the price of revenge, and even the creation of gods.
“The Engine What Runs the World” is a powerfully thought out tale that I highly recommend.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden