Reviews of Timothy S. Johnston’s An Island of Light


READERS’ FAVORITE: “From one of the most talented authors I’ve discovered in the past 2 years, Timothy S. Johnston, comes the fourth book in his series about the new world beneath our oceans, An Island of Light. I’ve had the pleasure of reading all three of Johnston’s previous novels about Trieste City and the hair-raising challenges faced by its gutsy mayor, Truman McClusky. Johnston has consistently dazzled me with his cinematic descriptions of this world in the deeps, a world created and populated in the hopes of surviving the ravages of climate change on our planet’s surface. In each timely novel, McClusky envisions and works toward a united undersea world called “Oceania”, but typical of humanity, personal, societal, and political agendas are ever in conflict. In this novel, when McClusky’s twin sister, Meg, murders her father’s killer, she sets off a chain of events, many sadistically violent.

“Through McClusky, Meg, and the supporting cast in An Island of Light, in his deepest analysis yet of human nature, Johnston explores the best and worst of mankind’s motivations and actions. The result is a most satisfying and substantial read, especially for me, as who we are is significantly more important than what we do. While the technology and science behind this undersea world are fascinating, as is the ever-evolving and twisty plot, in the end, it’s the characters who bring the story home. In conclusion, I have to say that of the four books in the series, An Island of Light is my favorite. That’s because this time the emphasis is more on what makes people tick than on what is ticking inside the subs, the SCAVs, and the bombs. Readers are as riveted, maybe even more so, by what people say and do than by the ongoing battles for underwater supremacy. Is this a new direction that Johnston will pursue in his stories about Trieste and the underwater colonies? I look forward to finding out. Brilliant, stylistically flawless writing again, Mr. Johnston. It’s a pleasure to read your books for so many different reasons!” — Five Stars at Readers’ Favorite


SFCROWSNEST:An Island Of Light, the fourth book in Timothy S. Johnston’s The Rise Of Oceania series, is perhaps the darkest chapter in the saga yet …

… Megan did it, no question. She also didn’t have a plan beyond simple revenge, so when the USSF comes looking for their missing admiral, Mac and the rest of the team scramble to hide the evidence, to no avail. When the USSF leaves Trieste with Megan and Mac’s chief of security in their custody, Mac has to gather the shreds of his current plans and tie them off to the dangling threads of what comes next: rescue his sister while interrupting the USSF occupation of a neighbouring colony …

… The question that comes with this sort of breakthrough, however, underlines the themes of this book: what is the true cost of a weapon of mass destruction and how are we supposed to feel about such an invention? The technology can be used for good, adapted toward medicine, for instance. But right now, the cost will be in lives and Truman McClusky is going to be the one to pay the bill.

While I enjoyed the action sequences in this book, as always, there are many, the true value of An Island Of Light is in Mac’s war with himself. He’s not alone in his struggle. His sister was unable to live with the fact her father’s killer remained alive, free and in the position to make her life hell. The USSF, in fact all the submarine fleets, are known for their use and abuse of the underwater colonies.

A former agent of Trieste’s intelligence agency surfaces with his own case of trauma and the scars of his protracted torture will make Mac’s mission to rescue Meg all the more difficult. As author Johnston explores the morality of torture, murder, and retribution, he manages to keep Mac’s moral compass pointing north but only just. It’s this aspect of the book that will stay with the reader. Mac has always been a very real character. One the reader can empathise with and one we’re willing to follow into the depths. So it’s very fitting that he should struggle so mightily before pulling off the most inventive and daring rescue yet.

An Island Of Light is a worthy instalment in the ‘Rise Of Oceania’ series and I look forward to the next book.” — SFcrowsnest


MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW:An Island of Light is the fourth book in the Rise of Oceania series and covers a murder in the underwater city of Trieste. In 2080, the number of people living on the ocean floor topped 100,000. By 2130 (the year this story is set in), Trieste has faced battles for independence, led by Mayor Truman McClusky, from the U.S., China, and the USSR.

As the story opens, Meg McClusky is about to commit premeditated murder. Her intended victim, Admiral Taurus T. Benning, is one of the most powerful military men in the Gulf and Caribbean regions. He believes this gives him license to do anything he wishes. She — and he — are about to have another thing coming.

This futuristic political and murder mystery is replete with thought-provoking moments, high-octane action, and an engrossing evolution that offers many satisfying twists and turns. These events are marked by observations that are intriguingly defined (“Irony at its most violent.”).

As a murder attempt against the city’s mayor results in Meg’s intention to protect everyone in her city, intrigue builds on the history of countries attacking Trieste and the community becoming a pivot point in world political strife.

The city’s mayor has long been playing a dangerous game against the world’s underwater communities. The last thing he needs is domination by the United States Submarine Fleet. The last thing Meg needs is to become caught up in the political forces that operate through high-tech submarines, as she’s already involved in the murder of a man who murdered she and her twin brother Mayor Mac’s father.

As Mac’s political determination clashes with his family relationships, both Meg and Mac face challenges to their lives and their community, confronting a plot that could overthrow everything they’ve worked for.

Timothy S. Johnston crafts another action-packed social examination of a futuristic underwater community threatened by the political struggles within and outside of it.

Readers holding prior familiarity with submarine warfare will relish the authentic descriptions of sub environments and interactions, while those who are more interested in the evolution of psychological trauma and recovery processes will especially appreciate the attention to detail given to Mac and Meg’s past and present challenges.

As both recover from past trauma and face present conditions in different ways, readers will find the interplay between personal and political choices to be realistic and thought-provoking.

Take a murder mystery, combine it with a futuristic setting, and add elements of psychological and social reflection for a sense of the action and focus of An Island of Light, which requires no prior familiarity with its predecessors in order to prove thoroughly engrossing on many different levels.

Thriller, sci-fi and mystery audiences alike will find it crosses these genres with high-octane action and appeal.”Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


AUTHOR MICHAEL LIBLING: “Readers of Timothy S. Johnston’s The Rise of Oceania series will find plenty to appreciate here. Indeed, Johnston achieves the remarkable, not only exceeding the action and suspense of his previous books, but maintaining a pace that keeps the pages turning and the heart pounding, start to finish. Combine this with Johnston’s command of leading-edge science and technology, and you’ve got one of the finest thriller writers working today. Prepare to be blown away, literally and figuratively.”  — Michael Libling, author of Hollywood North: A Novel in Six Reels


Book Trailer:

AN ISLAND OF LIGHT from Timothy S. Johnston and Fitzhenry & Whiteside is available to purchase at these links.

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