In the first book of The Demi-Monde, Rod Rees introduced us to his fascinating virtual world and its cast of amazing characters, with an action-filled and fast-moving plot. Surprisingly, the second volume, The Shadow Wars is even darker and more intense than the first.
The Demi-Monde is a very realistic and detailed simulation that was allegedly created to train soldiers in combat situations. It is purposefully filled with racial tension and religious and political intrigue. The politics include a very powerful and dangerous ForthRight which is the virtual world’s version of the Nazis.
Some of the people in the world are exact copies, called “dupes” of famous or infamous people in world history, such as Casanova, de Sade, and Robespierre.
Into this world, two human girls have been infiltrated, one by accident and one on purpose.
In Book One, Ella Thomas was a beautiful, smart, somewhat innocent African American girl. She was sent into the game to retrieve the President’s daughter, who had someone got ensnared in the virtual world and was in great danger of destroying both herself and the future of the Demi-Monde.
In Book Two, Ella is something far different from that girl. A catastrophic event has caused her to become The Lady IMManuel, who may be the Messiah meant to save the Demi-Monde, but who may be something much darker. Her path with put her at odds with the President’s daughter, Norma, who may also be much more than she seems.
This is a world where almost no one is what they appear to be, aside from the historic figures who maintain their same personality in the virtual world as they did in the real one. There are shadows within shadows, intrigues upon intrigues. The book will keep you constantly guessing, constantly on edge, and always completely involved in the action.
This is the second book in a trilogy, so of course it is a cliffhanger. It will leave you eager for the next one.
Rees has done a masterful job in creating a truly astonishing world and inhabiting it with believable and fascinating characters. This is dark fantasy at its very best, and if you enjoy fantasy adventure and have a high tolerance for violence and sex, this is a series you won’t want to miss.