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JJ & AJ Cook
Percivious Escape
JJ & AJ Cook, author
Who will survive when the future can only be saved by the past?   A vicious insomnia pandemic devolves into a devastating apocalypse, and humanity teeters on the brink of extinction in the thrilling final instalment of the Percivious Trilogy, Percivious: Escape.   Emerging from the dark side of the moon, the HELIX and its crew embark on a final effort to save the last of their species—and ours.

An unexpected alliance forms between humans and the XYZ—Earth’s first intelligent hominid species—to uncover the secret behind the pandemic. But when unforeseen forces surface, Herriden, captain of the HELIX—which carries the last of the cetacean XYZs—must make an unfathomable choice, if it’s not already too late . . .   Percivious: Escape is an astonishing conclusion, in which life as we know it will never be the same.
The Cooks conclude their near-future Percivious trilogy with an epic collaboration between species. Eight years after Covid-19 was contained, another pandemic mysteriously emerges—chronic insomnia that’s debilitating the world’s population, leading to fatal accidents on a massive scale. Proteus, a pharmaceutical company, is making billions with the wonder drug Noctural, but greedy company head Jon Cameron and drug developer Cooper Delaney know it doesn’t work. The sociopath Khalid Al Gamdi uses his immense wealth to kidnap Cooper and other scientists and force them to find a real cure that Khalid can use to control the world.

The Cook husband and wife writing team plows right into the plot of the third book, which follows the second book’s off-planet adventure with the XYZ, Earth’s original intelligent race evolved from whales hundreds of millions of years ago and then returned to Earth from an aborted colonization attempt on another planet, only to find humanity on the brink of extinction. The XYZ’s belief in percivious, or altruism, compels them to help save humanity. The story and ideas are complex—new readers should start with the first book, and even seasoned fans may find it challenging, at times, to keep up as the XYZ, whose enormous HELIX spaceship hides on the far side of the moon, send representative Herriden to Earth. He is able to transmit messages telepathically to human/XYZ hybrids, created to be humanity’s salvation, but Herriden’s mission is threatened when the HELIX is discovered and under attack.

A flurry of characters introduced well into the book distract from an unfolding, multifaceted plot that touches on fascinating conspiracies and Human Pinnacle Theory, the idea that humans have reached an evolutionary pinnacle, unable to further adapt to the environment. Nevertheless, all these threads eventually tie together, and patient fans of ambitious SF will enjoy a satisfying conclusion that celebrates altruism and teamwork. Readers will savor the uplifting conclusion to an ambitious saga.

Takeaway: Lovers of intricate SF will enjoy this finale that finds Earth’s two intelligence species teaming up.

Great for fans of: Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary, Alechia Dow’s The Sound of Stars.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A