Spoiler Alert – This section contains details about Part 2 of Son of Heaven.
My initial reactions and thoughts on Part 2: The East is Red, after the break…
Part 2 of Son of Heaven brings us back to before the fall; England is a very different place than what we’ve seen thus far, and we see a very different side to Jake. We see him as a futures broker, very well off and newly engaged to Kate (what’s with the four-letter names in SoH?). Jake spends a large part of his life plugged into the datscape, a virtual representation of the global securities exchange market (think the Matrix on Wall Street). All is not well, however; an unknown force is manipulating the Market, precipitating a downfall of the West. The Market collapses, shortly followed by the eight most powerful firms. The City is in chaos. Jake’s compatriots have died, and his existence seems to be erased from the records. Stranded alone in dangerous territory, he must find his way to safety, which turns out to be with our good friends in Purbeck.
We’re crawling ever closer to the events only hinted at in the original sequence. We’ve had our first, although brief, brush with T’sao Chun. Jake’s revelation of T’sao’s identity seems like a bit of stretch, but otherwise, the section delivers what it needs to: a quick, stark contrast to Part 1’s rural village life in the form of hopper crafts, avatar suits, virtual environments, advanced AI, etc; as well as a thorough telling of the events leading to the fall. Characters are introduced, developed, and then offed unceremoniously in classic Chung Kuo style. What I perceived as a simpler language in Part 1 as compared to the other Wingrove novels seems to have dissipated, although my earlier perception could certainly just be my error.
With Part 3, we’re back in Purbeck, only moments after Part 1 ended. In other news, forums are up. I’m hoping that once people start to find this site, there’ll be some discussion and debate. Also, more entries into The Vault coming shortly.