Disclaimer – I do know Grant Piercy as a friend. He did not request I write this review, nor am I being paid for it.
Agent of Truth is a high-concept sci-fi thriller, and is book 2 of The Erased series. While it explores familiar cyberpunk concepts like AI, the singularity, and identity transfer, it also includes fresh, inspired twists like transgender representation and mature approach to the material; themes like Dante’s Inferno and references to Gonzo journalism shouldn’t work in the same book, but do because they are both interrogations of the human condition. Antagonists make seductive points, and protagonists sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reason. Various characters have complex family dynamics with relationships that feel real and have depth. Character motivations are mostly clear and understandable. The plot takes a nuanced view of different characters’ desires to transition or change, or who resent the various gynoids and androids present in the world. All of this is presented with bold prose and vivid description.
I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars because the characters’ voices sometimes blended together and I had to check the chapter titles to clarify who was who, especially in the Architect segments. Sometimes the short chapters were jarring, but other times they were effective as the reader internalized the character’s disorientation or frantic headspace, as with Regina or Cassia (some of the more clearly recognizable POV voices). The ‘Chorus of the Overmind’ segment felt misplaced – it was too long for an epilogue and introduced new characters at the book’s end. I assume it is meant to open doors the next book will close, but it seems more fitting for an anthology taking place in the same universe, or in a sequel.
Those very minor observations aside, the book is a gripping read and contains some brilliant observations on human relationships, the future relationship between humanity and AI, and identity. I recommend Agent of Truth to fans of cyberpunk, science fiction, and cerebral romance. It’s an excellent read and a superb entry to the genre. I look forward to reading more of his work.