Reviewed By Jeff Cook
Aside from social media, Wikis, the opportunity to juke out and conquer fellow online bidders and loads and loads of videos of funny monkeys, the internet has opened the doors to new opportunities for science fiction writers. With so much of our personal information and lives intertwined with computers and the World Wide Web, a panoply of what-if scenarios have been posited and explored by a new generation of authors that pick up where Asimov and Dick left off.
Dan Ronco is one of them. In his new novel, UNHOLY DOMAIN, Ronco picks up a decade after a compuer virus named Peacemaker has wiped out computers world-wide; the economies of the greatest nations on earth lie in ruins, people face starvation and desperation on a scale unimaged. Yet humanity is finding its way, propelled by those two engines that have moved progess through the ages since the dawn of time: science, and religion.
On one side is the Church of Natural Humans, a religious faction exalting "natural humanity", those people untainted by technological enhacements or dependency on a computerized world. Led by a charismatic leader, a beautiful and deadly assassin and an army of zealots, the Church seeks to wipe out those who would promote the artificial over the natural.
On the other side lies the Domain, a group of technocrats bent on achieving world domination through the sale of artificial humans and the restoration of global communications that will give them total control of the people and major economies that are in tatters.
In the middle is David Brown, the son of the man accused of creating Peacemaker and a man determined to prove his father was a pawn in the most dangerous game ever played - a game in which the ultimate prize is the world itself.
UNHOLY DOMAIN is a damn scary book filled with fascinating ideas and questions that wrestle with notions of family, security, betrayal, and our dependency on a way of life that can be stripped of us at any whim of a capricious technogod. Ronco writes with a tight, fast-paced style that draws the reader into his world and keeps their pulse-rate high throughout the book. While it is a sequel to his first novel, Peacemaker, new readers are able to fully enjoy the follow-up without the nagging feeling that they're missing something. A terrific new voice in the world of techno-thrillers, Dan Ronco is an author to keep track of.