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Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
A Memory in the Black is Book 2 of the New Aeneid Cycle by talented writer, Michael G. Munz. Part cyberpunk sci-fi and part thriller, it effortlessly transports its readers to a familiar, yet different dimension in the not too distant future that is 2051. A mysterious craft, code name Paragon, has been discovered in the Aristarchus Crater on the moon. What has been learned about this craft to date is that there’s a black liquid skin coating the inside of it, which appears to be a computer of sorts, and that the craft is deadly. One group that got too close is already dead. The European Space Agency (ESA) has now recruited a group of talented hackers to “test the security of the ESA Lunar Research Complex’s encryption and data storage network in accordance with a number of worst-case scenarios.” At least that’s what the group is told. At the helm of the so-called exercise is ESA field chief, Marette Clarion, a secret agent with Agents of Aeneas (AOA). Marc Triton, also an agent with AOA, is a network specialist and artificial intelligence (A.I.) programmer and, unbeknownst to their group of hackers, he and Marette have another agenda. But things quickly go wrong once the hacking exercise gets underway, leaving one of them inexplicably dead and the rest of them terrified. However, this is just the beginning…
There are many elements that make Memory in the Black exciting and a fast-paced read. There’s a great group of interesting characters and plenty of action to keep even the most reticent reader engaged. However, what makes this book so enjoyable is the fact that while there’s no mistaking that it’s sci-fi, it’s not so ‘out there’ to be unrelatable, which is the problem with many books in this genre. The year is 2051 and, from the opening sequence in the book, it could be a story set in present day. However, the reader quickly realizes that this in fact isn’t the case when they learn that Munz’s protagonist, Marc Triton, has built an A.I. and soon finds himself on board a passenger shuttle headed for the moon. At this point, many authors will take plenty of licence in creating an alternate universe that can alienate, if you will, the author’s audience if they can’t buy into that alternate universe. Such is not the case with A Memory in the Black. While there are references to A.I.s and life on ESA’s lunar base, these are nicely juxtaposed with more familiar references such as Lifesavers candy. All in all, a great story, great characters, and a terrific read! Beam me up, Scotty!