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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm
Greg Keyes
Titan Books, 176 pages

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm
Greg Keyes
Greg Keyes was born in Meridian, Mississippi, to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of Georgia before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of the Age of Unreason series and the Children of the Changeling series, as well as several novels set in the Star Wars and Babylon 5 universes.

Greg Keyes Website
ISFDB Bibliography
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SF Site Review: The Charnel Prince
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SF Site Review: Newton's Cannon

A review by Sandra Scholes

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The original 1968 version of Planet of the Apes starred Roddy McDowell and Charlton Heston as Cornelius and George Taylor where Cornelius had developed human speech and mannerisms and also had a relationship. As the apes that had been previously experimented on had evolved, the repercussions of how they had been treated by the humans had caused them to break out and form their own alliance on Earth. This official movie novelisation forms the bridge between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the sequel. As a prequel novel, Firestorm has Caesar and his band of apes following him to another place, Muir Woods, where they can hope to find a home. Meanwhile 'The Simian Flu' has been taking down people in San Francisco, and what might appear to be isolated cases becomes an epidemic on a grand scale. The people angry at the apes decide to get their revenge on them; others hunt Caesar and his ape friends for other, much darker reasons.

While Alex Irvine has written Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Official Movie Novelisation, Matt Hurwitz has written Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; The Art of the Film, Greg Keyes has brought the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm. This novel is based on the screenplay written by Mark Bomback and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and based on characters created by those writers.

When an opportunist Bigfoot spotter turns from a large pursuer, Caesar and his men are trying to keep out of the humans' way, hiding in the shadows, hoping to find food, shelter and a new place they can call home. David Flynn has to cope with all the rumours about how the apes had escaped from the primatology research facility and wants to capture the missing apes, but is also interested in how they will cope in the wild.

Greg Keyes does a good job of showing in different parts of the novel how the apes have been abused at the hands of their human captors. We see through the abusers' eyes what the humans knowingly do to them; when they try to have a mind of their own they get beaten and also others in their group get hurt or killed. The humans only want them to think when they approve of it, treating them in a controlling and cruel way. You find it hard to feel sorry for the humans once the simian flu has got a grip on society even though it is told from both sides. Malachi and Clancy have a hard time working out who let the apes free from their cages. It could be the orang-utans. But as they are solitary animals, it is unlikely they would let the lot of them out. Caesar, Koba and Maurice are the main apes in the story, Koba being the ape who was being abused in the facility by Roger, a deviant human. It isn't hard to understand why they want a life of their own but it soon becomes obvious that the apes also want revenge on the humans who experimented on them without mercy. While all this is going on, the people become outraged at the epidemic, going on a rampage causing chaos in the local malls while other humans die. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm is a faithful telling of the movie version of the story that is interesting as well as heartrending.

Copyright © 2014 Sandra Scholes

Sandra is published in many magazines such as Albedo One, Hellnotes, Fantasy Book Review and Love Romance Passion and still gets an odd sock in the wash on laundry day.


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