The Infinity Mainframe by Robert Scott-Norton

The Infinity Mainframe by Robert Scott-NortonScott-Norton mixes the ordered manner of police thrillers with telepathy and close-future dystopia to create a story that feels like cyberpunk from the side of the law.

This novel is the third volume of the Tombs Legacy series. Transfer of enjoyment-reducing insight of previous volumes might occur beyond this point.

Ruby works for the Department, the parallel police service tasked with overseeing telepaths and dealing with those who break the rules. Following intelligence that terrorists opposed to the British Government’s stance on telepaths intend to infiltrate the launch of the latest generation personal computer/communicator/assistant, she and her partner, Nikolai, discretely attend. A mission that Ruby hopes will give her another collar to add to her score. However, when Nikolai blows his cover with a loud paranoid rant in the middle of the party, then is murdered later that night, Ruby wants answers. But, with Nikolai’s death judged a murder rather than a telepath crime, she’ll have to go against both the regular police and her own people to get them.

While this book is the third volume in the series, it isn’t a direct sequel, either in protagonist or timeline. The story starts the day before the start of The Remnant Keeper, and – although Nikolai is the murder victim whose eyes are passed to Jack Winston at the beginning of that book – only shows glimpses of the events in that book.

Instead, Scott-Norton takes advantage of a protagonist with investigation skills and – initially at least – the backing of the authorities to provide a fresh perspective on OsmiTech, Devan Oster, and the reasons behind Nikolai’s death.

As such, this novel is likely to be accessible to readers unfamiliar with the series, making it a suitable starting point.

This parallel-narrative approach offers readers who are familiar with the events of the previous volumes greater depth into the events that shaped it and the knowledge that – on occasion – Ruby is unwittingly trusting the wrong people or missing key facts, providing a greater tension in several critical moments.

Ruby is a well-crafted protagonist: fully distinct from Jack, yet also shaped by the same world. As with Jack she has a disordered private life that both interferes with and aids her attempts to investigate the conspiracy that she’s stumbled upon. This adds strongly to the sense that she’s a real person, making her deviations from the most logical course highly plausible and making the reader sympathise.

As with Scott-Norton’s other work, the supporting cast are a solid balance of world-driven nuances and basic humanity, making their motivations and basic drives accessible without damaging the sense that this is a world shaped by different concerns and technologies than our own.

While it won’t come as a surprise to readers who have read the previous volumes, those considering this as an entry point should be aware that the novel does contain graphic – but not unnecessary – descriptions of technology based around eyeballs.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this novel. I recommend it to readers seeking a complex dystopian thriller.

I received a free copy from the author with a request for a fair review

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