REVIEW: Redspace Rising by Brian Trent

Last Updated on February 12, 2024

Redspace Rising is Brian Trent’s intelligent, action-packed science fiction thriller set in a universe where human memory is a tangible commodity which can upend the permanence of death itself. From its well-developed cast of characters to its innovative worldbuilding and intriguing plot, Brian Trent has crafted an ingenious masterpiece of military sci-fi.

Redspace RisingThe novel takes place a few centuries in the future, after humanity has colonized extraterrestrial bodies across the solar system. Most of the plot takes place on Mars, the Martian moon Phobos, and the Jovian moon Ganymede.

As the novel opens, Harris Alexander Pope awakens from unconsciousness with memories of a previous life restored. Harris learns that he is a double agent, stripped of his true identity and living a lie for the past twenty years. Harris’s memory has been manipulated to make him a more convincing agent, but when his original memories are restored, he must deal with overlapping and often conflicting recollections from his double life. But he has little time to process this shocking revelation, since he is immediately sent on a mission to annihilate a rival military base on Phobos.

Redspace Rising expertly deals with issues of identity at both the personal and societal levels. Throughout the novel, the issue of personal identity is complicated by the ability to save and retrieve the entirety of a person’s memory. Hence, the death of a person’s physical body does not necessarily mean the death of the human being itself. The implanting of saved memory data into a new body is a type of rebirth through technology, usurping the finality of death. Hence, the concept of mortality bifurcates into two types of dying: the immediate death of the physical body and the more serious, permanent death of a person whose memories have not been saved.

Beyond its intriguing philosophical implications, the restoration of saved memories in new bodies also creates ample layers of complexity within the story. Brian Trent brilliantly mines these possibilities throughout Redspace Rising, leading to many unexpected plot twists.

Harris Pope is a great main character, serving as a savior but without the associated savior complex. He is a well-honed killing machine who struggles with his own authenticity and with finding sincerity in his relationships. Redspace Rising also features a multifaceted set of supporting characters, including three strong female characters in Natalia Argos, Umerah Javed, and Celeste Segarra. Another favorite character is the notorious fugitive Gethin Bryce, who has many secrets of his own.

Politics play a large role throughout Redspace Rising. Even after the citizens of Earth nearly annihilated themselves through nuclear Armageddon, they still haven’t learned the lesson of the dangers of nationalism. During the time of Redspace Rising, such nationalism occurs at the planetary scale.

Brian Trent is an outstanding writer and has mastered the art of crafting enthralling, sustained action sequences. From the opening pages through the end of the book, Redspace Rising is a nonstop thrill ride of sci-fi action. I especially enjoyed the range of technology employed throughout the fight scenes.

Redspace Rising is marketed as a sequel to Trent’s previous book, Ten Thousand Thunders, which features Gethin Bryce as an investigator for the InterPlanetary Council. Despite being a sequel, Redspace Rising can be treated as a standalone novel. Personally, I read Redspace Rising without any knowledge of Ten Thousand Thunders and had no problem getting introduced to the world, characters, and plot. I don’t feel like I missed anything by starting here with the sequel.

With its fast-paced action, double-crossing characters, and focus on personal identity and memory, Redspace Rising is like a literary sci-fi version of the Jason Bourne movie franchise, with Brian Trent serving as the virtuoso cameraman documenting the gripping adventures of our proficient but broken hero.


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John Mauro

John Mauro

John Mauro lives in a world of glass amongst the hills of central Pennsylvania. When not indulging in his passion for literature or enjoying time with family, John is training the next generation of materials scientists at Penn State University, where he teaches glass science and materials kinetics. John also loves cooking international cuisine and kayaking the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.