In Greek mythology, Atropos was one of the three Fates who were responsible for the threads of human destiny. As it was Atropos’ task to choose the manner and time of a human’s death by severing their thread, it is apt that author N. J. Lujan selected that name for the clandestine intelligence network that returns for the third time in THE ATROPOS MAKER III: The Awakening. This secret American outfit metes out retributive justice across the globe and stabilizes rogue states. In previous outings they have tackled terrorism, drugs, people smuggling and arms dealers. But as readers of the earlier books will be aware, Atropos itself is not beyond corruption. Atropos have access to hi-tech equipment including implants that regenerate injured flesh, embedded surveillance micro-chips and even a false hand that can replicate precise fingerprints to access security panels. These inventive gadgets skirt the edge of science fiction but, as with so much of this conspiracy conscious series, stay on the side of believability.
The heroine of the first two novels in the series was Norma. One of the original founders of Atropos, she had tried to leave but been drawn back in. THE ATROPOS MAKER III: The Awakening moves things along by a few years and Norma appears to have been killed. The action is focused on her surviving family with her son Alexander embedded within the team but attempting to give his own children something like a normal upbringing. The focus on the family is an intriguing development and Lujan again proves herself to be a skilled writer. This time out the prose seems more concerned with hard hitting emotional shifts, which means some of the action sequences which were so dynamic in the earlier volumes take a slight back seat. Which isn’t to say that Lujan is letting down her core audience more that this is a step forward, perhaps even a more mature work. And towards the end of the book there are questions raised about the very nature of the organization. “We’re told thou shall not kill, not lie… But what if it was to protect”, says Alexander, “Do you think God gives exceptions?” And then he asks “Are we all damned?”
With numerous plot twists and surprises THE ATROPOS MAKER III:The Awakening moves the saga of the secret American intelligence network forward and this time out author N.J. Lujan adds in emotional weight alongside the action and adventure.
~Kent Lane for IndieReader