Be My Enemy – Everness #2 – Ian McDonald
Everett Singh has escaped from his enemies with the Infundibulum – the key to all the parallel worlds. But his freedom has come at a price: the loss of his father to one of the billions of parallel universes in the Panopoly.
E1 was the first Earth to create the Heisenberg Gate, the means to jump between worlds, but it was quarantined long ago. No one goes in… and nothing comes out. But E1 has something that Everett needs: the means to find his father.
It’s lucky that he has the support of Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her daughter Sen and the unique crew of the airship Everness, because Everett is about to discover the horrifying secret of E1 and, with it, his deadliest enemy.
On to the second book of the featured series of this month: Be My Enemy. I was curious how Ian McDonald would continue to keep his story fast paced and interesting, because the novelty of the parallel dimensions and all the different worlds had worn off a bit after the first book. But I shouldn’t have worried, because the second book was just as entertaining as the first was. Weird technology, new worlds, exhilarating fights and wonderfully written characters: it’s all here, in the exact right doses in the second book of the Everness series.
The book starts off with a scene that got me a bit confused at first, but when I caught up with what was actually happening I immediately knew that this would be an awesome addition to the story.
After this first initial ‘wow’ scene, we go right back where we left Everett, Sen and the Everness and its crew in book I. They are now stuck on one of the worlds in the Panoply, no idea which one only that they are currently on a big ice sheet. It’s up to Everett to get them out of there before the thing that’s under the ice shows itself and tries to destroy them and before their pursuers find them.
Everett is still in the possession of the Infundibulum and Charlotte Villiers will stop at nothing to get her hands on it. The next step in her plan is to create an enemy Everett never would have imagined he could ever had encountered. Besides that, Everett is still determined to find a way to get his dad back, who was sent to a random world in the Panoply by Charlotte Villiers who used her jumpgun on him. To achieve this goal he has to return to the place where the jumpgun was made, E1 or Earth 1, the world that has been in quarantine due to some sort of horrible happening that nobody wants to talk about. Captain Sixsmyth and her crew join Everett once again to E1 where they find a deserted London. Or maybe it isn’t as deserted as they think it is.
What may not attract the direct attention of many readers but what was for me an important part of the story en what I really loved to read about, was the relationship between Everett and Sharkey. Everett is never really sure about Sharkey, doubts his intentions and the fact if he would hand over Everett to the enemy or not. Throughout the book we see different interactions between these two characters and how they form their perception of each other.
The use of the Tarot comes to the forefront again in this installment of the story. On different occasions in the book the Tarot is referred to and just as in Planesrunner the Tarot is consulted just before any major event. I’ve always been fascinated by Tarot and this version was really well done and appealed to me in many different ways. Also the fact that Sen makes the cards and adds new ones to the deck when new events occur of new person become important in her life gave it that something extra.
Be My Enemy is again chock full of action and adventure, tension and edge-of-your-seat moments. Definitely just as good as the first book and a very good follow-up.