The intriguing futuristic dystopian story begun with The Lost Puzzler continues in this expansive speculative science fiction adventure.
There is nothing out of the ordinary in waking up . . . unless you’re dead.
Sent on a dangerous mission with little hope of succeeding, the man known as “Twinkle Eyes” has beaten the odds and found the key that could save civilization: Rafik, a teenage boy with the power to unlock the invaluable Tarakan technology that can restart their world. But the world might not be ready for what is unleashed, and now Twinkle Eyes must find a needle in a haystack in order to save himself . . . and perhaps the world.
This time, though, he will not go it alone. And while his companions—from the fiery Vincha to the laconic Galinak—have their own motivations, each will be vital in solving the last grand puzzle. One that could bring prosperity and progress to the world or destroy humanity’s last hope for ascension.
Now, a lone assassin from another era, two old friends, a dead man, a ruthless rogue mercenary, and a vicious warlord are all hunting for the ultimate prize. But what will happen when the final secret is unlocked, and technology long since buried once again finds its way into the hands of mankind?
Kless's futuristic second Tarakan novel (after The Lost Puzzler) takes a revelatory trek across a postapocalyptic world. Mannes Holtz, the man responsible for the catastrophe that destroyed Tarakan, a high-tech corporate utopia, and started a world war, may also be the only person able to save it using the last working remnant of Tarakan tech: a space elevator in Mexico. On his way to retrieve the tech, his ship crash lands in central Asia, leaving Holtz to battle his way across continents, opposed by an artificial intelligence with a grudge, and "Twinkle Eyes," the unnamed narrator of book one, who is also hoping to unlock more forgotten Tarakan facilities and believes Holtz to be a traitor. A good amount of humor balances the more violent scenes. Kless tantalizingly reveals much of the backstory that was teased in The Lost Puzzler through flashbacks and prophetic dreams, and maintains a taut moral tension over which side readers should root for, epitomized in the mercenary Galinak's refrain "And here I was thinking I was on the good guys' team." The result is an expansive, entertaining far-future adventure.