The first book in the Killday series. Can be read as a stand-alone.


Publication year: 2018

Format: Audio

Running time: 11 hours, 34 minutes
Narrator: MacLeod Andrews

Set in the near future, people are using fobs instead of tablets or phones. Both governments and computer companies are designing artificial intelligences.

Lee is a computer scientist and works for the US government. She has designed robots, combots, that take the place of soldiers in combat. Now, she’s flying to Pakistan in a travel pod. She realizes that something’s strange with the combots, but Lee has not time to investigate. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and a robot kills a human. Lee is supposed to be the only one who can change the combots’ programming and she’s suspended.

Owen Royston is the founder and owner of Royston Dynamics. His former partner Victor suddenly arrives at the HQ with an offer that interests Owen a lot. Years ago, Victor betrayed Owen professionally, so Owen is reluctant to trust him again. Owen’s company makes nano assemblers that can make anything. For years, he’s wanted to build spacecraft, his space schooners, but hasn’t had the time or resources to do it. Now, he has a chance.

Mortimer is an AI who wants to break free from the company that created him. When he realizes that one other AI is already roaming the internet, he redoubles his efforts. He has watched the humans who have created him so that he can manipulate them. However, humans interest him and when he realizes that one AI is out to destroy humanity, he wants to prevent that.

Richard is a robotics engineer at a computer company. He starts to see visions of a child who claims to be god. This god warns Richard about AIs who will one day soon destroy humanity. Richard must prevent that by any means necessary.

The story has lots of high-level tech. Some people have nanotech inside them to heal illnesses, even mental illnesses. The travel pods apparently use anti-gravity, but the tech isn’t enough to lift vessels to space. However, most people still use cars and buses so the pods must be expensive.

The beginning is a bit slow with multiple subplots that don’t seem to connect. However, near the halfway point the pace picks up a lot and builds to an explosive ending.

Unfortunately, some of the relationships felt contrived. Lee has a troubled marriage and a preschool daughter. Her husband isn’t happy with how much Lee must be away because of her work. Lee isn’t happy about that, either, and thinks about resigning. Owen’s wife thinks that the space vessels are a waste of time and money, especially because Owen wants to give the space schooners away for free so that humanity isn’t tied to Earth’s fate. The AIs have very human motivations and ways to communicate. Of course, they can’t be too inhuman, either. Also, near the end, the tech was a bit inconsistent.

The book starts as a warning against AIs but ends as a disaster book. The ending was a bit too bloodthirsty for me although I can see it as a summer blockbuster movie. Otherwise, this was an entertaining read.