What is the essence of humanity? When we meet something strange, do we try to understand it, or do we whack it with a stick?
In “The Enemy Within,” seventeen-year-old Max gets all sorts of chances to find out. He has always felt separate from his fellow humans, and as the story progresses he finds out the size of that gulf. In the end, he does what every human must do. He makes a choice based on his own personal interpretation of what is right.
This is an archetypical tale, the story of a hero setting out on a journey to find out what he is made of, where he comes from, and who he wants to be. Other characters he meets show him differing examples of how he might act. In the end most of them are wrong, and he must choose his own path. And of course he finds his solution within his own soul. Hence the title.
This is a fine Sci-Fi story anchored to firm thematic material. The other three main characters are fully rounded and realistic. The antagonists are more stereotypical, representing the different choices mankind makes as history progresses. Although the main characters have science fictional powers, Mr. Burn avoids the temptation to turn the tale into a superhero Sci-Fi magic fest. There is plenty of action, including a motorcycle chase across the Western States and numerous obstacles and battles for the hero to surmount, but the conflict is solved in Max’s mind. In the final roundup, it is this internal argument that interests us the most. It is there that the character resonates with us.
A great combination of suspenseful action and empathetic characterization based on relevant ideas, which can be enjoyed on several levels. Highly recommended for all Sci-Fi and general novel fans.(5 / 5)