It’s been 2 years since Spencer Harrington escaped from the Icehole, helped his father battle his nemesis, the Black Beetle, and witnessed the death of his mother at the hands of a psychotic, superpowered being seeking to build her own twisted version of a family. What’s he been up to all that time?
He’s been in college. Trying to live a normal life. Trying to reconcile his anger with his super-powered father, the Crimson Mask, as the superhero hunts down Augments - beings with power that has been dangerously amplified - before they can cause damage to an unpowered world. And maybe get a work-study job… or even date.
But all that comes to a screeching halt when his best friend (and resident tech-genius) Eric sends an Augment to retrieve him to their new secret base with some disturbing news: Spencer’s mother is alive… maybe… sort of…
In Crimson Son 2: Motherland, the energetic sequel to his 2014 novel, Russ Linton amps up his game admirably, contrasting the powerless Spencer against the remaining Augments who look on him as the Golden Boy, only allowed to participate because of who his father is, as they all seek to quell the growing threat.
But Spencer himself still fights his participation in the group, trying to keep a grasp on what he believes he wants out of life, even as every action pulls him deeper into the Augment world. He slowly begins to learn that Augments are people, too, just like him.
But that doesn't help him against a growing battle, a looming war that threatens to change the very face of the tech-dependent world, without a single bomb or bullet.
And his mother might not be dead...
And his father might not be invincible…
What do you do when super strength isn't enough to save the world?
Linton delves deep into a world very close to our own, a place where the virtual balance is constantly teetering on the brink of collapse, just out of sight of most of us. Sure, he retains Spencer’s trademark snarkiness, but also lets us see Spencer’s growth into a leader, despite his lack of powers. By showing that all heroes and villains aren’t completely black or white in morality, he infuses his action-packed story with a genuine emotion that is often overlooked in tales like this. It’s a great read, especially if you’ve followed the world from Crimson Son to the standalone companion piece, Crimson Son: Empty Quiver. Motherland serves as a fitting next chapter to Linton’s Augment world.
“We've always shared this. Our lives held prisoner until video of Dad's exploits hit the nightly news. He was always missing. Even physically being there didn't guarantee he was present. But for all the empty space, he left a weight we both shouldered. A burden I always tried to distract her from. Coping meant developing a twisted sense of humor, a skill with deception—whether I was lying to her or myself or both. She didn't need to read minds to know I was putting on a show just for her. She doesn't need to read my mind now to know I'm starting to believe.”
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