My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Prometheus and the Dragon is the second book in Eric Michael Craig's Atlas and the Winds series. Picking up nearly a year after the end of Stormhaven Rising the citizens of the earth have put their hopes on two competing projects to stop the asteroid known as Antu before it strikes the earth. The effort is led by the Americans, at the lunar colony, who are building a massive particle weapon that will be used to deflect the asteroid. The Chinese, meanwhile, are building a next-generation nuclear weapon at their own lunar colony and they plan to launch it at the asteroid to destroy it in one massive explosion. While the Chinese and Americans work toward the same goal, but often at cross purposes, Stormhaven continues to expand their colony with the goal to save as many people of the earth as possible. Stormhaven isn't alone as the other space agencies have unified to build their own massive domed colony, the Russians have partnered with the Arab nations to finance their own colony, and the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints is focused on building an ark on the moon to save genetic material of people, plants, and animals. The moon is getting very crowded, and as the two biggest players start stepping on each others toes the consequences could prove to be disastrous for the earth.
As with the first book in the series, Prometheus and the Dragon is a techno-thriller roller coaster ride. Eric knows his science, even when he's pushing the envelope with new technologies, and this comes through as conflict spreads not only on the earth but between the lunar colonies as well. As a writer, he's adept at adding stress and new challenges to his characters, always ratcheting up the tension. Whether it is the machinations of an apocalyptic preacher who's gathering the people of the world for the last battle before Armageddon, to the secrecy and political infighting between nation states, Eric does a wonderful job of making things worse - and that's a good thing. If everybody worked together, worked in harmony, they might be able to save the world, and while that might leave the reader with a fuzzy warm "feel good" feeling it's not what drives a story. To do that you need conflict and Eric delivers, and in very plausible and realistic ways.
Prometheus and the Dragon is different from Stormhaven Rising in that a lot of the focus is on many characters who had more supporting roles in the first book. This was necessary because the story moved away from what was happening on earth to what was happening on the moon, and I liked to see these characters get more of the lime light. My one quibble was that I didn't like the melancholic depression (funk) that Colton Taylor - genius and guru of Stormhaven - got into. I understood why Eric did this, but it felt a bit like a cheat to force the other characters to step up and think on their own. As such, Colton has very little page time, and since I really liked his character from book one, to have him set aside in this manner was a bit disappointing. I wanted him to continue to be the shining light of progress and reason, and he seemed to sit out, curled up in a proverbial fetal position. However, just because I wanted to see more of Taylor, doesn't mean that the other characters do not shine on their own. Eric does a great job of developing these minor characters in their own right, and in the end the ensemble he has created makes the story come alive.
I highly recommend this second book in the Atlas and the Winds series. Prometheus and the Dragon is a high-tech science fiction adventure that not only gets the science right, but keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride.