I bought 7th Son: Descent by J.C. Hutchins in early November and since then we’ve been playing a little shell game. Much like Good Omens, which I bought in ’91 or ’92, I managed to set it down and misplace it, only to find it again and start the cycle over.
Thankfully this little game of cat and mouse with Descent won’t be played out for nearly a couple decades. I managed to anchor on and keep the book at my side until I finished this last week. (I really should find Good Omens again)
Like Good Omens part of the precarious cycle is born out of a familiarity with Descent. Not because I’ve read the first 50 pages nearly a hundred times, but because I’ve heard it all before, at least the beginning of the 7th Son saga.
7th Son: Descent began life, at least to the public eye, as a podcast serialized and performed by the author, J.C. Hutchins. And I’ve heard the first words oh so many times over and over.
“The President of the United States is dead. He was murdered in the morning sunlight by a four year old boy.”
As the first line suggests, Descent kicks off with a bang as the President is murdered by a four year old boy at a campaign rally. The tone is set for the book, and the series, within a couple succinct sentences. We know Descent will be political, bizarre and wrapped in a nugget of mystery. That is only the beginning.
From there, J.C. Hutchins throws us into the world of 7th Son that is filled with conspiracy and espionage, along with government and corporate deception. A world where seven men named John Michael Smith, living wildly different lives, unaware of one another are thrust together to realize they share more than a common name, but a face and a past.
Michael, Dr. Mike, Jay, Father Thomas, Killroy 2.0, Jack and John are clones sharing the same genetic structure and the first fourteen years of John Alpha, the original John Michael Smith, who was himself conceived to be genetically superior. From there Hutchins juggles the 7 protagonist as the story twists and turns, giving them each individual physicality, personalities, interests, strengths and weaknesses. Each taken along a different path: Marine, criminologist, UN humanitarian, priest, hacker, geneticist and musician.
To what end? To save the world from John Alpha, who through technology stolen from the 7th Son project has the means to bring upon utter chaos.
Hutchins is very successful at blending a story that is part science fiction, political and international intrigue, as well as a sociological and psychological commentary on “nurture vs. nature.” Story-wise it is a compelling story with great concepts.
The one weakness, however, is the ending. There really isn’t one. It kind of ends just as the momentum really hits a head, and the reader is left hanging. Knowing the back story of the 7th Son series, I know it’s the first of a trilogy, and I can understand the way it ended. For a new reader, they may not be so lucky.
That aside, I can’t wait for book two and three to come out. I’d love it if they came out the same publishing year.
To learn more about 7th Son and the writings of J.C. Hutchins visit his website: http://www.jchutchins.net
Next up for me is Charlie Huston’s Sleepless.