by Eliot Peper
Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Posted May 20, 2020
A purchase through our links may earn us a commission.
"The writer wasn't the author of the idea, but its vehicle."
Eliot Peper's new independently published novel, Veil, is another taut, near-future SF thriller, with themes that resonate with relevance. Eliot is an avid reader himself, and a diligent researcher. Several of the plot elements are familiar to me since I have read similar proposals over the past few years. One of them may actually be on the verge of being implemented, if not it's surely just around the corner. Internet access via satellite feed. The book's title refers to another, but I won't reveal that, only that it relates to climate science.
The prologue begins with author and environmental activist Miranda León as she tramps through a Columbian rain forest. It ends with her death from heat prostration, in an event that will become known as the Heat Wave, which kills over 20 million others around the world. Her daughter Zia had been on the verge of entering diplomatic service. Instead, after helping edit and publish her mother's final book, she devotes her life to humanitarian aid around the world. Her father, Santiago León, is founder and CEO of Interstice, a company that began with his attempts to provide internet service to villages outside the main cities in Costa Rica, which later encompassed a fleet of satellites, and drones, providing such services world-wide. For some reason, maybe because they were so much alike, Zia and Santiago didn't form a stronger bond after Miranda's death. Instead they avoided each other, even though Santiago kept tabs on what his daughter was doing. At a reunion with friends from her Swiss boarding school days, Zia learns of a puzzling situation. The world's average temperature is holding several degrees lower than the highest recorded, and climate scientists are baffled as to how and why. Later searches into the situation brings her to the attention of someone trying to puzzle out the problem themselves, for completely different reasons.
Another quote: "There is no such thing as a natural disaster. There are only human disasters revealed by nature." Climate change is affecting the entire world, but the hardest hit are those least equipped to cope, the poor and least developed nations. Both Zia and Santiago are trying to mitigate the damage in their own ways, but what if one of them is acually exacerbating the problem? Partially a scientific exploration of possible ways to halt climate change, part spy thriller, Veil is a fast-paced mystery with volatile implications. Zia is a great character, resourceful under pressure, even surprising herself multiple times, since her predicament is the furthest from what she envisioned her life would be. She's sort of a mash-up of Diana from Peper's Analog trilogy, Mishima from Malka Older's Centenal Cycle, along with Malka herself in her guise as humanitarian aid worker. Zia is able to marshall the talents of her friends, many of whom are now well-placed in several small governments. She is even able to tame her father's arrogance and megalomania. They work out a solution, of sorts. It may be just a stop-gap solution, but now that the secret is out, the whole world can work on the problem.
I've rated this 5 stars on Goodreads, the maximum allowed. Highly recomended, and I'd welcome another story about Zia.
We would appreciate your support for this site with your purchases from
Amazon.com and ReAnimusPress.