by Rajan Khanna
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Review by Mel Jacob
Pyr Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781633882737
Date: 18 July 2017 List Price $18..00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Raining Fire is the third novel by Rajan Khanna set in a steampunk sort of world featuring a broken hero with a past. Ferals, once human, roam a world in chaos seeking food and prey while humans seek to survive any way possible. Whether they and Ben Gold will make it is not clear.
A viral disease robbed humans of their rational behavior and turned them into creatures perhaps even lower on the scale than apes. Scientists have not found a cure for the virus causing the disease. Miranda, Ben's lover and a biochemist, is working to find a cure or preventive serum. However, when her island lab was attacked and destroyed, Ben believes she was killed. He now works with an old friend making various deliveries with an airship when he isn't drunk.
Eventually, his self-destructive behavior drives his remaining friends away. Determined to kill those he believes responsible for Miranda's death, Ben struggles to locate and kill them. Betrayal dogs his steps, but he will not be stopped.
Initially, some may find the novel confusing as it weaves in and out of the past and the present. Driven by guilt, Ben Gold spends much of his life in a drunken stupor trying to forget past failures. However, the narrative covers the past as he struggles in the present and the reader learns what happened to Miranda. Various loose ends, such Ben's father's fate, are also resolved.
Ben is not a Han Solo type of hero. In some ways, the novel is reminiscent of the later John Wayne westerns. However, the hero's ability to absorb serious injuries and still keep going soon reaches beyond the limits of believability.
While Raining Fire ends on a positive note, Khanna had left enough opportunities for further stories set in the same world. Other books in this trilogy are: Falling Sky and Rising Tide.