The Coming Storm

The Coming Storm is a much-anticipated follow-up to Greg Mosse’s well-regarded 2022 debut thriller, The Coming Darkness. The new book takes up the complex, futuristic plot of the first novel. I hadn’t read the earlier book, and there were some situations I didn’t completely understand, at least at first, but that really didn’t affect my experience of this new book. Mosse so effectively establishes that the deteriorating social and political situation in his dystopian future matters greatly to the characters that a little ambiguity didn’t put me off.

Mosse writes about a future (the year is 2037) we can see, at least dimly, especially on our bad days. Eco-terrorism. Drought and a rapidly warming climate. Strange, difficult-to-treat infections. And hazards of any era: people in power who can’t be trusted and whose self-interest trumps any impulse to do good.

The action takes place mostly in France and North Africa. The main character, Alexandre Lamarque, is widely regarded as “the man who saved the world” from eco-terrorism. This is an embarrassing level of notoriety he’d just as soon do without. And it’s made him a target. But of whom? Or who all?

Three eco-terrorism plots are in play: opposition to the enlargement of a dam, a plot to destroy the Aswan dam which will practically annihilate Egypt, and sabotage in the lithium mining industry.(I was a bit puzzled by the references to lithium mining, as I thought lithium does not occur in concentrations that would allow it to be mined in any conventional way, but perhaps I missed that explanation.)

Cutting back and forth between these several ambitious plots and Lemarque’s efforts to discover and thwart them, the story speeds along. While Lemarque and his colleagues are strong characters, the terrorists themselves remain somewhat shadowy. Lurking way in the background is a man who seems to be the main plotter, living on a Caribbean island near Haiti, who is the least believable of all.

The unfolding of the terrorists’ plans is certainly exciting. Yet I couldn’t help a bit of a bait-and-switch feeling when I realized they wouldn’t be resolved by the end of the book. Of course, they’re all so significant that, realistically, they can’t be dealt with in any quick way, so perhaps, in spreading the action over several volumes, Mosse has made a good choice. One that will require Book Three, at least. People who read and enjoyed the first book will be happy to see this follow-up and will no doubt look forward to the story’s ultimate resolution. The Coming Storm terrorists are not finished, and neither is Lamarque. And certainly not Mosse.