The alien invaders have won. By using the serotonin paths in the brain, they are able to read our thoughts and kept one step ahead of our best military personnel. There seemed to be no way to win, as the 'human population' counter slowly ticked towards zero.
Where traditional arms have failed, a genius geneticist steps in. By radically changing the structure of both the brain and the body, she is able to create the perfect warrior for the fight against the Luyten. Fifteen feet tall. Tripedal for added speed and strength. Genius-level IQs, trained from birth on military strategy, and completely without empathy for the enemy, or each other.
They are Defenders.
Within a matter of months, the Luyten threat is neutralized. Humanity's Doomsday Clock finally stops ticking down, and there is some hope on the horizon. But now that the outside threat is gone, there's a new problem to deal with.
The problem is the Defenders. Humanity has burdened itself with a race of sociopaths who are bigger, stronger and faster than humans. Now that the war is over, they don't have anything to do.
And idle hands are the Devil's playground.
Told from many points of view - from a 'traitor' who helps a Luyten survive in the rubble of a city, to one of the scientists working in the labs that created the Defenders - this is a story of an ongoing apocalypse. Just as one threat to humanity is defeated, another emerges. Humanity will have to make alliances it never thought possible and betray its own creation in order to survive.
Will McIntosh shows his deep understanding of the human psyche, both the thoughts of the individual and those of the masses. Any book with telepathic main characters would be a challenge, but with the fractured minds of the Defenders added to the mix, the book becomes a minefield. McIntosh masterfully creates both a race that is interdependent on the emotions of its group, and a race who has no concept of these feelings at all. The contrast throughout is fascinating and addictive.
Defenders is a can't-miss for fans of near-future science fiction as well as the growing fan bas base of post-apocalyptic tales.
Highs: The way that each Defender is eerily similar, yet has separate personalities, is striking.
Lows: There were mistakes made by the world governments, over and over, that made me want to scream at the book.
Verdict: A masterful piece of science fiction that should have wide appeal.
Further Reading: A Hymn Before Battle, Fortune's Pawn, Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Volume 1, Robopocalypse