Third Transmission by Jack Heath

Friday, July 24, 2009

The back cover blurb:
I'll be watching you, Agent Six.

Agent Six of Hearts is back at work. He's sealed inside a torpedo, blasting towards a warship.

His mission? To steal canisters containing a weaponised strain of the SARS virus. Before ChaoSonic can use it to wipe out an uprising that is tearing the City apart.

But Six has bigger problems. Vanish is still on the loose. So is Retuni Lerke. And a scientist has designed a new weapon. One more dangerous than anything Six has ever seen. One that could wipe out him, the Deck, and anyone else who opposes ChaoSonic for good.

Six has to find the weapon, and destroy it. Because ChaoSonic can't always control their creations. He is living proof.

Though I haven't read the previous two Agent Six of Hearts books - and now that I know what happens, I don't think I'd be able to enjoy them as much as I would have if I didn't know - I really enjoyed Third Transmission.

It was excellently researched and seemed to be written effortlessly. Six was at first a really stiff and emotionless character, but the more I read, the more I empathised with him. The other characters - King, Ace of Diamonds, his brother Kyntak, his less-than-wholesome sister Nai - made up an interesting and varied cast.

Third Transmission reads so smoothly - without too many of the clunky details you might find in other novels of this genre. The back cover blurb tells us about Six' mission to steal the czanisters with the SARS virus in them, but that's only the very beginning - from there, the story branches out towards things like teleportation, and eventually time travel. Even through these out-there concepts, nothing seems forced or unrealistic.

The world in which Six and the other characters live is really interesting - like our own world at some point in the future almost - a city where it rains acid, pollution makes life difficult, and a single company rule the City. A company called ChaoSonic, which, you know, indicates from the outset that they're up to no good.

I get sick of hearing the phrase action-packed, and I would shoot myself in the foot before I used it myself, but Third Transmission really was. I read it in one sitting, and was so well written, I had a lot of trouble looking for fault. It was really seamless; incredibly enjoyable and when I'd finished reading, a bit depressing.

This book also has one of the most satisfying conclusions to a novel that I have ever (and read that as EVER) read.

This book is to be released here in Australia in August, and it will be released in the US as well - but not until November of 2010. It's worth the wait, and even if you aren't usually a reader of sci-fi adventure (I think that's the genre), it's definitely worth checking out.


This isn't part of the review, but I thought I'd thought you'd like it. According to the quiz on Jack Heath's website, the character from his books I'm most like is Kyntak (that's Six's brother):

You're reasonable, clever, athletic. When you're hurt, you try not to show it. Most people like you pretty soon after meeting you, although every now and again someone regards you with suspicion or jealousy. You enjoy having a laugh with your friends, but you have a serious side - you're just careful who you show it to. Because you never know when a maniac might send his troops out to abduct you, shave your head, drain your blood and hold you hostage. If that happens, laugh about it. Why not? You'll be able to figure a way out.

I know, that's totally me (though maybe not the 'clever' bit). This so beats the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.
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