Solomon the Peacemaker by Hunter Welles

Title: Solomon the Peacemaker
Author: Hunter Welles
Publisher: Cowcatcher Press
Expected Release: January 14, 2014
Source: publisher (NetGalley)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Vincent Alan Chell is coy about answering the questions of his captor. He’d much rather talk about his dead wife, Yael, whose suicide somehow led him into captivity. Or Preacher, the bearded leader of a cult-like group that meets in the bowels of a church basement. Or the Peacemaker, the computer intelligence that has guaranteed peace between nations for half a century.

Chell describes a world where cultural norms have changed the way people interact with technology. Humanoid robots, though ubiquitous, are confined inside private homes, giving the impression that all is well with the world. Which may be the case. Yet Preacher and his group are convinced that humankind is already in the thrall of the Peacemaker. And they might be right.

Solomon the Peacemaker, Hunter Welles’s debut novel, explores the limits of technology, nonviolence, love, and memory in the twenty-second century as it races to its incredible conclusion.

As the synopsis indicates, Solomon the Peacemaker is set up as an interview with a suspected terrorist (Vincent). It’s very interesting this way, a little creepy, even. The interviewer’s questions and remarks have been redacted in such a way that, for the most part, the book reads as any other novel with a first person narrative would. But the few times those gaps became obvious, when I was reminded Vincent was being interviewed and why (though I didn’t really know why), it sent a chill down my spine.

Great world-building here; so many of the sci-fi/dystopian aspects felt possible, not too far out of reach. Welles masterfully keeps the reader wanting to learn more, to find out what happens next. The story also explores issues such as: Where do we place the line between doing something, acting on our beliefs, versus living on as best we can in spite of circumstances that seem wrong and unchangeable? What is our threshold? Each character has his/her own answer to these questions, and it’s interesting to see how this plays out in the story.

Solomon the Peacemaker was a difficult book to put down! If you enjoy dystopian science fiction with a psychologically thrilling tone, you won’t want to miss Hunter Welles’s debut novel.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.