Solomon the Peacemaker is an intelligently-paced dystopian narrative wrapped in a needlessly gimmicky storytelling format. In the 22nd century, a world-spanning computer called the Peacemaker keeps the peace between nations. Despite all appearances of a utopia, an underground group fears that humanity has simply become enslaved to the machines and computers they designed to keep them safe.
Hunter Welles does an admirable job of creating a world that has all of the appearances of normalcy on the surface with the palpable shadow of malice just underneath. Welles’ world is the frightening but logical conclusion of our society’s ever-increasing reliance on technology in the name of security. Unfortunately, the author gets in the way of the story by presenting it in a one-sided “conversation” with the protagonist that interferes with reader emersion.
The narrative unfolds as the protagonist answers his captors’ questions regarding the events of the book. But we never actually “hear” the questions or learn anything about those who are asking. The result is everything that can go wrong with a first-person narrative: boring narrator, long-winded soliloquys, and dry data dumps.
Despite the pointless narrative format, I genuine liked the story. Which is what is most frustrating to me. Welles is a masterful enough writer that I should have loved this story, and no doubt would have were it not for the format selected.