Book Review: The Deaths of Tao

Follow-ups are hard. A writer’s first published book is often the fruit of years of labor, with unlimited time, detailed feedback, and painstaking revision. Then, miracle of miracles, that book baby is born into the world, and it walks! It runs! 

Your reward? Do it again. With a deadline. 

Chu does not disappoint in The Deaths of Tao, penning an excellent, pulse-pounding follow-up to The Lives of Tao

The Basics: 

Title: The Deaths of Tao
Author: Wesley Chu
Genre: Science-Fiction, Thriller, Action, Comedy, Romance
Published: Angry Robot, 2015

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

After the events of Lives…, Roen marries his love, Jill. Their union soon produces a son, Cameron. The life of an alien-possessed spy fighting a shadow war against a world-shaking secret society is sadly not conducive to domestic life. Things get rocky on the home front. Why does Roen listen to Tao? 

Photo by Anna Shvets on

The war is going poorly for the Prophus – the diabolical Genjix abandon their plan to push humanity to interstellar travel through conflict and chaos, and take matters into their own hands. Understatement of the year: their “plan B” is not good for humanity. 

As Jill works overtime to thwart the Genjix agenda politically, Roen leads a shorthanded and underequipped team deep into enemy territory. They face trials and impossible choices at every turn… when they’re not running for their lives.

Why This Book is For You: 

Everything I wrote about Lives… applies here: Action. Pacing. Humor. The stakes rise in Deaths… , pushing the characters to the limit. I sat the book down more than once to chastise the cover under by breath for its latest incredulity. It had no business putting me through that, I’m just trying to read a book!

The Deaths of Tao is a gripping, fast-paced sci fi with a tight plot and a joyful heart. It’s well worth the read. 

Where Can You Find More? 

Wesley Chu is an occasional guest on Writing Excuses – you can find these episodes on their guest list. You can find him on Goodreads, his web site (under renovation as of 12/6/21), or his corner at Angry Robot

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