Subterrene War Trilogy: Chimera by Tc McCarthy – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews the thrilling conclusion to the military sci-fi Subterrene War Trilogy, entitled Chimera, written by T.C McCarthy and published by Orbit books. 

“A fast paced, gripping novel that delivers an explosive, satisfying conclusion to Tc McCarthy’s Subterrene War Trilogy. Amazing stuff.” ~The Founding Fields

The Subterrene War Trilogy’s opener, Germline, if I remember correctly, was one of the first few novels that I received for review outside of tie-in fiction and it’s been a fantastic ride right the way through. Exogene was a stunning follow up that didn’t let me down, and now – having read Chimera in a super quick time, having not being able to put it down, I am pleased to say that Tc McCarthy has written three brilliant novels that will leave me eagerly anticipating any future works by him, whether it be in his already established universe or in a new setting. Although it may not be a perfect read, it sure as hell is a entertaining one, and something that I haven’t heard any negative reception for from the whole trilogy, which is a great achievement especially as it’s Tc McCarthy’s debut trilogy.

Escaped Germline soldiers need to be cleaned up, and Stan Resnick is the best man for the job. A job that takes him to every dark spot and every rat hole he can find.

Operatives from China and Unified Korea are gathering escaped or stolen Russian and American genetics, and there are reports of new biological nightmares: half-human things, bred to live their entire lives encased in powered armor suits.

Stan fights to keep himself alive and out of prison while he attempts to capture a genetic, one who will be able to tell him everything he needs to know about an newer threat, the one called “Project Sunshine.”

Chimera is the third and final volume of The Subterrene War Trilogy, which tells the story of a single war from the perspective of three different combatants. The first two volumes, GERMLINE and EXOGENE, are available now.

Chimera, despite being in the same universe as Germline and Exogene, and even featuring a character from Exogene, manages to feel just as new and refreshing as Exogene did to Germline. We’ve had three characters to guide us on our tale over the course of the trilogy, and they’ve each been entirely different. First, Germline gave us Oscar Wendell, a war journalist. Then we got a view into the Germline soldiers themselves, with Catherine, and finally - Chimera has given us Stan Resnick, another male protagonist, but shares more in common with Catherine than Oscar. He’s  a hunter of escaped Germline soldiers, and it’s interesting to see how he develops over the course of the novel. Having a novel told only from the first person perspective of one character, it’s always going to be a bit of a risk – if the reader doesn’t enjoy the narrative, then chances are, they’re not going to like the novel. But Tc McCarthy has improved on his first-person narrative over the course of the trilogy, and delivers an astounding conclusion to The Subterrene War.

Having been used to reading dark, gritty military sci-fi from the Warhammer 40,000 Universe, It’s always nice to know that you can find similar novels that in a different setting. Chimera, much like Exogene and Germline before it, is bleak, and very grim-dark indeed. Taking the reader through the jungles of Asia, McCarthy keeps the reader hooked right the way through this novel with a gripping narrative and the ability to make you keep reading even though you know it’s well into the night. Readers will be pleased to know that Resnick is a complex character, and is far from your typical Knight in Shining Armour. He’s flawed, but still a delight to read. Whilst the secondary characters may not be as strongly developed as Resnick, that is probably the only flaw that I found with this book. And the fact that I just wanted more.

Publisher’s Weekly describes Tc McCarthy’s novel as the future of science fiction, and I sincerely hope that we see more novels like this soon – I love military sci-fi novels. Chimera boasts a strong plot, a strong character and a fantastic world that has grown over the course of The Subterrene War. Far from the Utopian futures that some novels (although not as many as dystopians) explore, the world is bloody, dark and at war. It’s one that you wouldn’t want to live in, and times have changed a lot since the present day world that we know. Whilst it will be much more satisfying to read as the final novel in a trilogy, newcomers will be able to read Chimera and understand what’s going on with little difficulties. However – I don’t recommend this, newcomers should start with Germline. You won’t regret it, trust me.

Like The Blinding Knife was one of my best fantasy novels so far this year, I think Chimera could be one of my best Sci-Fi novels this year. A great read.

Verdict: 4.75/5

The Subterrene War Trilogy: Germline, Exogene, Chimera. 


Bane of Kings is one our most senior book reviewers here at The Founding Fields, based in England. He’s a prolific reviewer that has contributed to many things here and around the internet.


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