A deeply embedded Prophus agent discovers the Russian general he has been working under has received word that a massive invasion by Genjix-allied countries is set to begin. He kills the general and steals the Genjix war plans. Now Nazar just needs to get out of Greece before war breaks out. Unluckily, there is only one Prophus agent available. Luckily, that agent is Cameron Tan, son of the Prophus Keeper and of Roen Tan, the protagonist of the original Tao trilogy, raised fighting the Genjix and one of the finest warriors in the Prophus ranks, their answer to the Genjix Adonis vessels. Unluckily, Cameron Tan is a moron.
The Days of Tao takes place several years after the existence of the Prophus and the Genjix was exposed to the world. Since then, countries have slowly aligned with either side. It’s a new Cold War that is about to get very hot. Unaware that WWIII is about to start, Cameron Tan is stuck in Greece because he failed art history. (Which doesn’t seem like much of a punishment.)
I say he’s a moron because his reaction to learning that WWIII is imminent and that he is the only hope of getting an agent out with war plans is to tell his entire class and then twiddle his thumbs while they run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Cameron has been raised Prophus, and is an accomplished fighter, but The Days of Tao is all about him learning what it means to be a secret agent. That means a lot of lies, hard choices, and kills that look more like murder. Unfortunately, Cameron’s reaction is so ridiculous—remember, this is a guy who was raised in a spy household and was betrayed in the original series—that it saps much of the tension from the book. Nor is it very funny (Lives of Tao was the only Tao book that was really funny).
Which isn’t to say it isn’t a quick, enjoyable read. Chu still knows what he’s doing. If you were a big fan of the original series you’re going to want to pick this one up. But if you’re just looking for an SF spy thriller, you’re better off picking up Jason Hough’s Zero World.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance copy of The Days of Tao through NetGalley.