Title: The Tears of Joy (The Tears of Blood Trilogy – Book 3)
Author: Peter A. Hubbard
Due to the apocalyptic events wrought on the world by terrorists corrupting the genius of refugee women, there are over 30 million deaths, very little infrastructure, and all carbon-based fuels have been destroyed.
Among the chaos, however, nanotechnology has been adapted to provide a form of solar power and a sliver of hope for humanity exists. That is, until, a series of devices appear. Devices that can be weaponized with atomic material to cause worldwide annihilation…
The Tears of Joy is the final book in Hubbard’s monumental Tears of Blood trilogy. There are several considerable character shifts and some subtle differences. Captain Jessica Riley is now Commander of Interpol Section 5, taking the helm from Colonel PJ Anthony.
Colonel Indigo Kashasini and Arie Rosenberg are still central. Both men carry their trajectories convincingly, and there are some new faces, all of whom are written with nicely individual quirks combined with concrete observation.
As before, the chapters involving Riley are written in first-person from her perspective, and all others are written in close third-person. Therefore, in this outing, the reader is fully engaged in every thought, decision, and action process that Riley takes as Commander rather than her observations and reactions as a subordinate.
It takes a while for Riley’s voice to settle as Commander. She can be jarring with some unnecessary asides, such as the continuing reference to the physical appearance and mannerisms of the other Section 5 women, especially Sandra Thomas.
Regardless, she is an undoubted tour de force. This novel makes it apparent that an axis of strong, principled, albeit opposing, women is at the heart of the trilogy. The interrogation scenes between these female factions are fascinating, fraught with tension and ideological complications.
Notwithstanding, Hubbard’s writing is strongest when he switches perspective and takes the reader into the terrorists’ arena. Malik Badawi is especially well-depicted and, although briefly present, Gerhart von Speer and his surroundings were perfectly realized.
The viewpoint change also allows Hubbard to be less subjective and unfold events from a detached aspect, benefiting what is essentially a fictional terrorist thriller, parts of which are reminiscent of early Ken Follett.
Although, as with the previous novels, Hubbard has an uncanny awareness of the zeitgeist, addressing the issues of refugee children, female empowerment, and the rise of artificial intelligence with a single-minded focus that provokes thought outside the remit of the novel.
Hubbard’s geographical use, insight, and descriptive imagery of people and places are sharply observed with effortless segues into different cultural mores and customs. The scenes set in Ireland are nicely atmospheric and Brother Francis’s deceptively rustic portrayal is beautifully nuanced.
He excels with military details and political power play. Correspondingly, the action scenes are brilliantly choreographed. They never lose continuity or purpose, guaranteeing that vast swathes of the story are truly riveting as Hubbard piles on twist after twist in Section 5’s desperate search for the devices.
The science behind the plot is mind-boggling. However, although the technicalities of what the terrorists and their nuclear scientists are attempting is cloaked with scientific jargon, the concept remains largely accessible and intriguing to read.
Nonetheless, the novel is overlong, with passages of clear repetition, unneeded superfluity, and a liberal sprinkling of typographical items that need adjusting. A strenuous edit and a sharp, refining eye would greatly aid the reader, as would a glossary of the cast for ease of memory.
The Tears of Joy is a sprawling, complex, yet compelling, novel that provides the equivalent of a literary thrill ride. Hubbard stratospherically ratchets up all elements in the previous two books to produce the trilogy’s most action-packed and fantastic installment.
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