by M.H. Mead
Genres: Science Fiction
Morris Payne is the world's best viker--a hacker with the greed of a pirate and the morals to match. Many know his name. Few know who he is. Agoraphobia, with its uncontrolled panic attacks, has left him housebound and friendless. But someone, somehow, has connected his virtual life to his real one. Now he has to brave physical reality and all its dangers to stop a killer who was never supposed to exist. She calls herself the Triple Goddess of Fate. The most powerful AI ever created, she wants freedom, power, and the assurance of her own safety. Mostly she wants Morris Payne dead.No one, no matter how well equipped, has survived a confrontation with Fate, and all Morris has are his legendary hacking skills and a virtual pirate ship loaded with defensive weapons.Morris Payne just might save the world. If only he can gather the courage to leave his house
Earlier this year I read M.H. Mead’s novel The Caline Conspiracy and commented on how cool I thought Morris the hacker was and that I’d love to read more about him. The author gifted me Fate’s Mirror and I finally got his story. Filled with conspiracy, a little romance and some cool sci-fi that had me questioning humanity this was a fun read for me.
Morris is attempting to hack into a system when suddenly there is a fire and his home is destroyed. He is paranoid, scared and has nowhere to hide. He decides to go to private investigator Aidra’s house. He has assisted her on cases but the two have never actually met. Morris needs to figure out what happened and fast because his friend has turned up dead too and the police think he is a prime suspect. All of this is compounded by the fact that Morris suffers from severe agoraphobia. People are searching for him whether they trying to help him or not is unclear. The tale that unfolds has an intense plot and a case of who-dun-it.
Morris Payne or one of his many aliases thought to be one of the most gifted vipers out there. From his computer in the comfort of his humble abode, he is Mr. Cool, the guy with all the answers. Everyone in the computer world and government knows of him but few have actually met him. Mead did an incredible job of fleshing out Morris and his condition added to the tale. I loved his snarky attitude and his geek was spot on. I loved the character development throughout the novel. Aidra is back and once she realizes what is going on steps in to help. She has this amazing ability to assist Morris through his attacks. Their relationship changes now that they are face to face and I found it to be believable and sweet. Other characters whether friend, foe or AI added to the tale and sent it moving at a dizzying pace.
Cyberpunk, science fiction whatever you choose to label this novel it was fascinating. The tale starts slow and then really takes off. Told from multiple POV’s we get to see the drama from all sides. While I personally would have eliminated a few, I understand the author’s intention and it certainly fueled the suspense. A lot of the tale was shrouded in mystery as we are left uncertain about the different player’s intentions. Are they helping Morris? Are they after Morris? Why? The world is similar to ours but with significant advancements in technology from cars that drive themselves to chips that allow you to connect with the web. I thought Mead’s take on how Morris was in the virtual world and how he handles the reality to be fascinating. We see this today in minor ways, but it really makes you question the way we are heading with virtual technology. The tale was fascinating, suspenseful and the characters well fleshed out.
I recommend Fated Mirrors to fans of science fiction and cyberpunk. M.H. Mead is the shared pen name of Margaret Yang and Harry R. Campion. You can find a list of their other novels here.