Titan, out now
In the aftermath of ‘Monkeygate’, the authorities in San Francisco have two problems – apes loose in the forest, and an ever-spreading plague…
By pure coincidence I read this sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes/prequel to Dawn… on the same day I listened to Big Finish’s continuation of Terry Nation’s Survivors; both of them chart a mysterious outbreak of a terrible illness that affects people and overwhelms the infrastructure of the community it hits. This one of course has an added ingredient that the audio series doesn’t – apes.
Chances are if you’re going to watch Dawn… in cinemas next month, you may well rewatch Rise… beforehand; this book does a great job in reprising the key moments from that film if you haven’t done so, and irons out a few of the plotholes which were present in the original movie. It also serves to introduce various characters who are key to the new film and we see what they were up to around the time of the apes’ departure from Gen Sys and immediately afterwards – by no means does Firestorm fill the gap, it simply tells us some of what happens between the two.
As well as moving the story forward, the book gives us a chance to learn more about both Caesar and Koba, his lieutenant. Keyes gives us a tragic tale which explain how Koba gets to both the physical and mental condition he’s in when we met him in Rise… and why he gives Caesar his loyalty. That’s counterpointed with the stories of a human hunter and a young ape-expert, who are sent to try to track Caesar and his troop – Keyes doesn’t pull his punches in this, and we realize that man’s inhumanity to man matches that of his treatment of the animal kingdom.
Verdict: With a large amount of the book told from the apes’ perspective, this complements both movies, and tells a good story in its own right. 8/10