In the end, they only needed one man to destroy the world.
Now they need that same man to save it.
The premise for Michael Z. Williamson’s Rogue is simple: a dangerous man is murdering people and an even more dangerous man must be sent to stop him. After this, however, things stop being simple for Kenneth Chinran, former Operative for the Freehold of Grainne and currently the most despised man in the known universe for his attack on Earth some years before. Because a man he knew and trusted, trained and infiltrated a hostile enemy world with, is now his target.
It’s a game of cat and mouse as Ken and his assistant, Cynthia, cross worlds in order to track down and stop a psychotic killer. Along the way Ken is forced to look back more upon his role in the attack on Earth during the Freehold War (Freehold) as he tracks his prey closer and closer to Earth.
The action starts off slow but builds with intensity as the story unfolds around you. The pacing is decent, though much faster than Williamson’s earlier work, and the characters are less black and white this time around, which makes Chinran a much more likeable character. In The Weapon, he was a sociopath who cared little outside of being the most amazing badass in the universe. In Rogue, he has something worth fighting – and dying – for: a daughter, born in the midst of war.
One thing that the author does better this time around is show the human side of the protagonist. Before, I always felt like Chinran was just a Ken doll dressed up in super-human abilities and that there was nothing else to him. Now, though… now I actually feel bad for Chinran when he’s forced to endure all the horrors of knowing that he was personally responsible for the death of six billion people.
I’m amazed he wasn’t an alcoholic.
I was pleased with the inclusion of past references that did not dominate the new and original story, but still kept with the “storyline” that the author had established, which is something other writers have ignored. The story is a good one, and will leave you happy for the hero at the end. It’s not quite as “hardcore” as The Weapon was but, in my opinion, that makes this book that much better.
Definite buy and loan. Your friends will thank you.
–Reviewed by Jason