Apocalypse is at hand, and it's up to Roen Tan and his alien companion Tao to save the day. In The Deaths of Tao, the sequel to Wesley Chu's comedic, action-packed debut, The Lives of Tao, matters have taken a dark turn.
When The Lives of Tao ended, Roen had saved and married Jill, the woman of his dreams. But global conflict takes a toll on a relationship, and as the sequel opens, Roen and Jill are separated, and their son, Cameron, is living in another state with Jill's parents. Both Roen and Jill are engaged in the battle to save humanity from the alien Genjix--Roen as a renegade, Jill as a political operative in Washington, D.C.--and the intense pressure has exploded their family ties. But Roen still keeps watch over Jill in her missions, and Cameron is always at the forefront of his mind.
In The Deaths of Tao, two alien factions are battling for the fate of humankind. The Prophus--the faction to which Tao belongs and which is served by Roen and Jill--aim to propel the technological progress of humanity to a level at which it becomes possible to return the aliens back to their home planet, from which they have been exiled on earth. Until now, the opposing Genjix have sought to promote progress, too, but through a philosophy that warfare facilitates innovation--thus, their goal has been to incite global conflict. Now, however, the Genjix no longer want to return to their home planet. They have discovered that global warming would make Earth hospitable to their kind--and are on the way to making it happen.
Roen's desperate mission to stop the Genjix sends him to Taiwan, where myriad battles ensue as Prophus armies clash with those of the Genjix. Aided by her own alien companion, Baji, Jill strives to stop the Genjix through political channels. In the foreground of these conflicts is the bittersweet tangle of their relationship, which shows all signs of being viable despite the battering it has endured.
Even with its high death count and grim themes, The Deaths of Tao preserves the caustic banter and suspenseful battle scenes that made its predecessor enjoyable, and leaves the door open for another sequel. --Ilana Teitelbaum
Shelf Talker: The fate of humanity hangs in the balance in a suspenseful and humorous novel replete with gun battles in East Asia and political machinations in Washington, D.C.