‘House Of Gold’ by C. T. Rwizi: a Science Fiction page-turner with some fresh ideas and perspectives.

On a distant planet, a corporate aristocracy descended from Africa rules a colony, enabled by a powerful cybernetic technology that extends the life spans of aristocrats and ensures their prosperity. 

Those who serve them suffer under a heavy hand.

The Primes are highly intelligent, manipulative products of genetic engineering, designed in an underwater laboratory by a seperatist cult to lead a rebellion. Primes have Proxies bound to them as bodyguards and lifelong companions.

When the cult is attacked, Proxies Nandipa and Hondo rush to the rescue. As they emerge with their Primes onto the surface, everything they’d been led to believe about their world is shattered. 

The Proxies must decide between those they were built to serve and the freedom to carve out their own destinies. 

‘House Of Gold’ was very entertaining. The story was exciting, clever, original and full of surprises. I fell into the underwater world of competing pairs of Primes and Proxies immediately and effortlessly and was kept moving by the alternating points of view between the main male and female proxies in each chapter. The storytelling was accomplished, unveiling the mystery and achieving the worldbuilding mainly by bouncing the perceptions of the two Proxies off one another as their Primes compete for dominance. The ideas were original for the most part or provided original twists on familiar tropes. The situation faced by the two young proxies was pleasingly complex and full of intriguing possibilities.

I was nodding along to the story, as I might to a familiar song, when Part 1 ended with a bang and everything changed. I’d been settling down to enjoy an underwater version of ‘Ender’s Game’ with a slightly more self-aware set of players and suddenly everything shifted, a whole new set of possibilities opened up and I found myself hungry for part two.

Part 2 took place on a much wider stage than Part 1 and the conflicts became more strategic than tactical but the changing relationship between the two Proxies and their reassessment of the intent of their own Primes and the loyalty that those Primes deserved, kept the story focused and the action moving forward. I liked that the focus was mainly on the Proxies rather than the Primes that they were partnered with. The Primes seemed less and less human and more and more dangerous as time went by. They’d be bred and raised to be sociopathic megalomaniacs with a gift for strategy and social manipulation. In some stories, they’d have been the main players, with the drama of their struggle camouflaging how hard they were to like. In this story, the main focus is on the Proxies who are each trying to find a path to being more and other than who they were bred and raised to be, which I found much more interesting.

If you’re looking for a Science Fiction page-turner with some fresh ideas and perspectives. I recommend ‘House Of Gold’ to you.

C. T. Rwizi was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Swaziland, finished high school in Costa Rica, and got a BA in government at Dartmouth College in the United States. He currently lives in South Africa with his family.

He is best known for his debut novel Scarlet Odyssey and its sequel Requiem Moon, both set in a future technomagical Africa.

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