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This intense sequel to 2007's The Electric Churchis a strong techno-thriller, but it doesn't quite match its predecessor in originality. Avery Cates is a killer-for-hire who sold his services to the shadowy System of Federated Nations and destroyed the Electric Church's plans to turn people into cyborg Monks. Now mysterious assailants have infected Cates with a plague of nanobots that kills anyone he encounters and then reanimates the corpses. His condition draws the attention of the System authorities, who wonder why Cates himself has not fallen victim to the disease; they keep him alive in an effort to identify a cure. Amid sometimes flat scenes of gunfighting, betrayal and nanotech zombie uprisings, Cates's noirish narrative voice stands out as the book's real strength. Somers's compelling writing separates this from similar works and offers hope that future volumes will come closer to the quality of the original. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.