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Overthrowing Heaven by Mark L. Van Name

01/06/2009. Contributed by Kelly Jensen

Buy Overthrowing Heaven in the USA - or Buy Overthrowing Heaven in the UK

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pub: Baen, 416 page hardcover. Price: $16.50 (US), 17.09 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4391-3267-8.

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'Overthrowing Heaven', the third novel from Mark Van Name, following 'One Jump Ahead' and 'Slanted Jack', once again features Jon and Lobo.

As much as Jon Moore seeks to outrun his past, opportunities keep popping up for him to exorcise his demons. In this case, Lobo, his intelligent predator-class assault vehicle (PCAV) is just as invested as they participate in a scheme to stop the notorious Dr. Wei from experimenting on children. The nature of these nanotech experiments is a chilling reminder of Jon Moore's childhood incarceration. But no mission is straight-forward, the capture of Dr. Wei will tip the balance of power on the planet Heaven.

This is a solid book. The plot and action are fairly linear and told only from one point of view, that of Jon Moore. However, he and his companion Lobo are intriguing characters and I felt I got to know them pretty well by the end of the book.

Having discovered that this is the third in a series of books about Jon and Lobo, I'm quite interested in going back to read from the beginning. Although prior exposure to the characters and series would serve to make this novel a more immersive experience, I didn't really feel the lack of background material going into this story. It works very well as a stand-alone novel, which is an important point in its favour.

I chose this book to review this month as a result of reading and reviewing an anthology Mark Van Name not only edited but contributed the story 'Transhuman' to, again from Baen. His short story, 'Reunion' is thought-provoking, and warranted a second read after the author's end notes. Van Name also provided an intelligent introduction to the collection.
With his characters, Jon Moore the result of nanotech experimentation and Lobo showing a level of artificial intelligence bordering on supreme, Van Name was a logical choice to steer such a project. I look forward to further instalments in both series.

'Reunion' is available to read as part of the preview of the anthology 'Transhuman' at Baen's website:-

Kelly Jensen

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This book has 181 votes in the sci-fi charts

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