In a dystopian future much too close for comfort, three people are trying to survive in Tiber City, a harsh world on the brink of revolution, where society gets what it wants but not what it needs. Campbell is on the run from the horrors of his past, horrors that threaten his future. Megan is determined to right the wrongs perpetrated by her father, but in attempting to thwart him she might be inadvertently aiding him. Dylan spends his days in a drug-fueled haze, numbing his pain in whichever way he can. Each of them has one ultimate goal: to stop the mysterious Project Exodus before it’s too late.
KINGDOM, the first installment of Anderson O’Donnell’s TIBER CITYBLUES series, is a novel that makes you uncomfortable. Blending elements from both cyberpunk and bio-punk genres, it paints a picture of a modern metropolis that is rotten to the core, of a society that relies on over-stimulation, be that from information or designer drugs, and of genetic modification that endangers the very fabric of what it means to be human. The world-building shines and, even though the novel’s near future date has passed, it leaves you with the chilling notion that this vision might already be true somewhere out there.
The writing is superb. The only complaint is that there is a lot of exposition, but it is necessary to create such a vivid image of the setting and the society in which the three main characters find themselves. The author’s style is sharp, somewhat sardonic, and utterly mesmerizing. Hard as it is to relate to any of the viewpoint characters, O’Donnell still manages to make their stories intriguing. Readers will particularly find Dylan’s history tragic, and sympathize with his journey from lost little rich boy to the bringer of mankind’s future hope. Dark and gritty as this tale might be, it does end on a carefully optimistic note and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the series pans out.
Fans of Blade Runner will devour KINGDOM: Tiber City Blues, a cyberpunk thriller that is a thought-provoking read about greed, ethics and politics that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.
~Suneé Jones for IndieReader