Radiant State by Peter Higgins (The Wolfhound Century #3)

Peter Higgins's superb and original creation, a perfect melding of fantasy, myth, SF and political thriller, reaches its extraordinary conclusion.

The Vlast stands two hundred feet tall, four thousand tons of steel ready to be flung upwards on the fire of atom bombs. Ready to take the dream of President-Commander of the New Vlast General, Osip Rizhin, beyond the bounds of this world.

But not everyone shares this vision. Vissarion Lom and Maroussia Shaumian have not reached the end of their story, and in Mirgorod a woman in a shabby dress carefully unwraps a sniper rifle. And all the while the Pollandore dreams its own dreams.

Radiant State moves the action of Higgins' series to a 1950s Stalinist State where a space program is in full flow. Of course, this being a totalitarian regime, any progress is at huge human cost. Here, Higgins explores the personality cult of a dictatorship, Soviet Russia had Uncle Joe Stalin, the Vlast has Papa Rizhin.

Any opposition or concerns are brutally suppressed. Like the other entries, this does not just concern itself with the urban world of the West, but also the endless forest of the East. Here, mythical creatures exist and nature rules supreme no matter what the politics or technological advances of civilization.

Vissarion Lom is back as well as some other favourites. Lom is as dogged and determined as ever and there is a real palpable feeling of an end game being played out.
History buffs will enjoy the obvious parallels with Soviet Russia, science fiction and fantasy fans will lap up the fantastical creatures and technology.

It does get a little too wordy and descriptive at times at the cost of moving the plot forward. Higgins is an undoubted master of words and world building, but I felt this one got a little bogged down in detail at times. I wanted the fast action and excitement of the first two and instead had long-winded descriptions. That is the one criticism of an otherwise flawless and excellently written thriller. Radiant State is a compelling and worthy conclusion to the Wolfhound Century series.

8/10 A compelling and worthy conclusion to the Wolfhound Century series.

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