Corporate espionage and high-tech mercenary warfare is the name of
this game; set in the near-future (2059AD), we are introduced to Eshu
International, a team of "black ops" mercenaries lead by Tam Song,
who follow the ago old tradition of "if the price is right."
In this case, they are hired to steal a prototype of the new
"viable" nanotech neural network, the long sought after breakthrough
in man/machines interface, and as an added time constraint, this billion-dollar
system is set to be unveiled in just a few days.
Todoroff's world-building and sci-fi tech are well done and fell
into the "give them just enough," school of writing, which in this
age of "look how smart I am" data-dumps is always refreshing to see,
and helps greatly to keep the action moving along. Combine this with the
author's smooth writing style (more of a narrative rather than a formal
construction), made for a very enjoyable read.
The characters of the clones are an interesting mixture of
childlike curiosity crossed with the lethality and professionalism of a
hardened solider; each clearly defined by personality and motivation, leading
to underlying religious aspects to the story, namely do clones have a soul, and
if so what are the ramifications of using them as warriors? This exploration of
the human condition raises this story from just another high-tech sci fi, to
something thought-provoking about the very real world rights of artificial
In conclusion, Todoroff's Running
Black is a well written, compelling, and thought-provoking addition to the universe
of corporate science fiction; I look forward to the sequel. I give it a four
out of five.