Sleeper Protocol by Kevin Ikenberry – 4 stars
Kieran Roark awakens in a wheelchair, unable to remember anything. As part of a classified experiment, he will have one year to learn his identity and recover his memory, or he will be euthanized by the state.
Scientist Berkeley Bennett has one mission: manipulate Kieran’s emotions in an attempt to bring back his memory. But when she falls in love with him, she is forced to make a harrowing decision that may cost Kieran his life.
What Kieran knows could save Earth from a coming war. Whether he believes the future is worth saving is another matter. Racing across an unfamiliar world in a body he does not recall, Kieran needs to discover who he was and, more importantly, who he is.
Although it contains some thriller aspects, this book is a character study. At it’s heart, the story is about a man who lost his memory and quests to recover it. It takes place in the future with sci-fi elements and a conspiracy going on in the background, and includes an AI both simple and complex enough to conjure shades of HAL 9000.
The conspiracy part didn’t make sense to me on a certain level. The motivations of the antagonist causing said conspiracy seemed strange. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing what what they did for the reasons they did. Because the reasons weren’t cartoonish or over the top, I couldn’t relax into the mindset of a James Bond story, where the villain’s motives are supposed to be ridiculous. Even so, the conflict itself is well done.
I liked Kieran and Mally, both of whom carry the story brilliantly. Berkeley felt a little thin, but the story isn’t about her.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. It’s low action, high psychology and done well. I recommend it especially for veterans, and more broadly for anyone interested in stories about largely internal struggles surrounding identity.
Thank you for the review, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it. Kieran and Mally will have many more adventures!