An Island Of Light (The Rise Of Oceania book 4) by Timothy S. Johnston (book review).

March 27, 2022 | By | Reply More

  ‘An Island Of Light’, the fourth book in Timothy S. Johnston’s ‘The Rise Of Oceania’ series, is perhaps the darkest chapter in the saga yet. Truman ‘Mac’ McClusky has accomplished much in the battle for independence, but at what cost? Personally, he has endured torture and deprivation, sustained countless injuries, and lost many of the people he was closest, too. Then there are the lives he has taken and the destruction he has wrought. It’s a lot for one man to bear and that’s the question this book asks: how much is too much?

An Island of Light (Rise of Oceania, book 4) by Timothy S. Johnston (book review)

Megan did it, no question. She also didn’t have a plan beyond simple revenge, so when the USSF comes looking for their missing admiral, Mac and the rest of the team scramble to hide the evidence, to no avail. When the USSF leaves Trieste with Megan and Mac’s chief of security in their custody, Mac has to gather the shreds of his current plans and tie them off to the dangling threads of what comes next: rescue his sister while interrupting the USSF occupation of a neighbouring colony.

Oh and the Russians are apparently building three more dreadnaughts similar to the one that took everything they had and just a little bit more to sink in the last book and something’s up with the German Submarine Fleet.

One of the things I look forward to with every instalment of this series is the new technology introduced in each book. So far, we have super-fast submarines, propelled using super-cavitating fusion drives. Mac also has a fleet of Swords, the same super-fast subs can now dive deeper than ever before, a tactic that comes in handy when avoiding torpedoes that might reach speeds of up to 1000kph underwater! They’ve developed new oxygen mixes for deep dives and, as I mentioned in the third book, they have figured out how to sink the unsinkable.

In ‘An Island Of Light’, the new tech is a rather large bomb. Actually, it’s quite small, requiring only a smear of active material to produce an explosion on the scale of Hiroshima. With Russia on the way to introducing three more dreadnaughts into the fray, they’ll need every last ounce of power.

The question that comes with this sort of breakthrough, however, underlines the themes of this book: what is the true cost of a weapon of mass destruction and how are we supposed to feel about such an invention? The technology can be used for good, adapted toward medicine, for instance. But right now, the cost will be in lives and Truman McClusky is going to be the one to pay the bill.

While I enjoyed the action sequences in this book, as always, there are many, the true value of ‘An Island Of Light’ is in Mac’s war with himself. He’s not alone in his struggle. His sister was unable to live with the fact her father’s killer remained alive, free and in the position to make her life hell. The USSF, in fact all the submarine fleets, are known for their use and abuse of the underwater colonies.

A former agent of Trieste’s intelligence agency surfaces with his own case of trauma and the scars of his protracted torture will make Mac’s mission to rescue Meg all the more difficult. As author Johnston explores the morality of torture, murder, and retribution, he manages to keep Mac’s moral compass pointing north but only just. It’s this aspect of the book that will stay with the reader. Mac has always been a very real character. One the reader can empathise with and one we’re willing to follow into the depths. So it’s very fitting that he should struggle so mightily before pulling off the most inventive and daring rescue yet.

  ‘An Island Of Light’ is a worthy instalment in the ‘Rise Of Oceania’ series and I look forward to the next book.

Kelly Jensen

March 2022

(pub: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, March 2022. 359 pages paperback. Price: $17.16 (US) £16.69 (UK). ISBN: 978-1554555574.)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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