This is a fun and honest book.
It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel, because Wes writes with a confidence well ahead of his career.
One of the better parts has to be how it’s a secret agent book that doesn’t glamourize the industry at all. Here we have a protagonist who vomits and has to retreat from active duty when he first kills someone. A hero whose first missions are boring reconnaissance—which make up 99% of intelligence work anyway.
But my favourite part is the history that’s thrown in. Each chapter starts with a short snippet from the past, and it encompasses thousands of years of pivotal moments from Genghis Khan to the Spanish Inquisition. In a way, it’s a secret history instead of an alternate history—nothing in the past is changed, just our perspective of it has (Genghis was a brilliant military strategist because ALIENS).
The Lives of Tao is short and fun, I encourage you to get on the Chu bandwagon (notice how I didn’t make a train joke there) before this author really takes off.