This review was first published by Booklist on May 15, 2018.
**STARRED REVIEW** Machine intelligences rule most of the world, human governments are rapidly losing their power, a war-ravaged U.S. is on the brink of descending into chaos, and a mysterious new plague is on the loose. In Chicago, one man finds himself at the nexus of a complex web of secrets that threatens to upend the world as we know it. This debut novel beautifully combines a postapocalyptic man-versus-machine conflict and a medical thriller. The world is immersive and detailed, the characters have depth, the writing is assured, the plotting intelligent, and the pacing about perfect. McAulty’s take on how AI might evolve gives the premise a unique twist. The story is action-packed, starting with a boom (literally) and driving you along from one crisis to the next. The action rarely lets up, yet it never becomes tiresome. The exposition gets a bit heavy-handed at times, but not enough to slow things down. There are intriguing details of this world that McAulty teases but never fully reveals, and that builds anticipation for his next books. This is thrilling, epic sf.