The novel “Serpent’s Fury” by David Bruns and Chris Pourteau was published for the first time in 2019. It’s the sixth book in The SynCorp Saga series and follows “Masada’s Gate“. It’s also the third book in the Empire Earth trilogy.
On the Moon, Ruben Qinlao is trying to set up a plan to free Tony Taulke but Cassandra is already preparing him for transport to Earth, where he will be subjected to a public trial aimed at marking the end of SynCorp.
The two factions are preparing the final moves before the final clash that will determine the future of the entire solar system. Stacks Fischer takes Bekah Franklin to the Moon to complete Project Jericho to defeat Cassandra.
“Serpent’s Fury” represents the grand finale of decades of future history told in The SynCorp Saga. If you read all the previous novels in the SynCorp series, you know the style adopted by the authors with the story divided into subplots that follow different protagonists in various places in the solar system. The peculiarity of having Stacks Fischer’s point of view told in the first person also continues.
The second trilogy has developed a great conflict between two factions in which identifying the good guys and the villains was never easy from the beginning and often it’s above all a question of understanding how bad some characters are. There was certainly a power struggle in which faction leaders have their own interests while other protagonists tend to have limited choices. It’s not all negative and there’s some hope for the future but up until the end, you can see ambiguity and shades of gray from an ethical and moral point of view.
The point of view of the very young Benji is the only new one in this novel and, through his mother’s death, it shows more than ever the effects of the “virtual drug” Dreamscape. When he gets involved in Cassandra’s machinations, he gets an up-close look at her agenda, including what she wants to do with Tony Taulke. The confrontation between Cassandra and the representative of the SynCorp oligarchs shows a situation that is understandable even to a kid.
The threads of the various subplots developed in the previous novels of the second trilogy or even begun in the first trilogy are intertwined in this grand finale, especially on Earth, where it all began. This is an action-packed finale with surprises and revelations, as readers of this saga have become used to find in previous books. This means that there are open clashes with actual battles but also plans carried out in secret and characters who have to hide.
In a series that from the beginning offered food for thought on ethical and moral problems, the ending certainly couldn’t be any less. Overall, I was satisfied with the construction of a future that takes into account economic and social problems, also linked to the current climate situation with its possible consequences. The authors put a lot of imagination into it but the foundations are really close to the present world with plausible power clashes.
A battle of the magnitude of the one fought in the second trilogy couldn’t end without changes for the inhabitants of the solar system. Have they achieved anything good or will they just have to accept the winners of the power struggle at the end of the conflict and adapt? These are questions that the reader can think about after finishing “Serpent’s Fury”, also thinking about how the authors projected elements of our present into the future.