Second in the Red Thunder Young Adult science-fiction series set in a futuristic Earth, er, Mars.
As a result of Red Thunder (book one), man has colonized Mars and enjoys almost free, everlasting power thanks to Jubal Broussard. A man kept prisoner in the Falkland Islands as a “security measure” for his protection.
This story has two parts both of which revolve around Jubal. In the first half, some thing from space suddenly strikes and skids along the Earth starting up a tsunami of disastrous proportions taking out the East Coast and the Caribbean. Even worse, it wipes out Florida where Grandma Garcia is still tending the Blast Off motel. Terrified, the Strickland-Garcia family heads back to Earth determined to find Grandma and Aunt Maria with Travis’ help.
The second half is a corporate invasion of Mars looking for Jubal and the mercenaries have no qualms about using torture to find out what they want from the Strickland-Garcias and anyone else they believe may have had interaction with Jubal.
Ray, Manny and Kelly’s son (the main characters of Red Thunder), is the central hero for this installment. Seventeen, Ray is interested in all the usual teen pursuits: riding his board—between Phobos and Mars, his stereo, and girls. Being a Strickland-Garcia, Ray also wants some adventure. Something he’s about to get in spades.
Another excellent read by Varley. Ray gets a lot more action and adventure that he could imagine. Struggling through the debris and bodies left behind by the tsunami to find Grandma. Surviving multiple invasions of Mars. Evading corporate mercenaries intent on finding Jubal before the others. Figuring a way out from under a mess of universal proportions. Let alone the fascinating ideas Varley promotes for free energy and the black hole concept of refrigeration! Damn, I want one of them!
The cover is very sleek with its casino rocket ship hovering between Earth and Mars after all, tourism is the name of the game on Mars. I’m not sure where the title comes from though. Okay, the Red is the series name and Mars is obviously red but Lightning???