First Shift – Legacy by Hugh Howey
The sixth installment to continue Hugh Howey’s Wool series is a great background, filler story.
I know. For those of you who have read the Wool stories and loved them, that may seem like a letdown – filler. Sounds like something you can skip, huh? But, though First Shift simply tells us about how the silo story begins, Mr. Howey manages to do so in a unique way.
The reader is introduced to two protagonists: Donald, a new Congressional Representative taken in by the seniority and power of a U.S. Senator, and Troy, a befuddled IT department head that struggles to forget when all he wants to do is remember.
*** SPOILER ALERT *** DO NOT READ MORE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN FIRST SHIFT – JUST READ IT. IT’S WORTH IT.
The thing is, Donald and Troy are the same person and by the end of First Shift all the reader is left with is the burning desire to know what that U.S. Senator really has in store for the people of the silos. One thing we can be sure of, it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Senator Thurman is a hard man, but he’s out to save the world. And, as any good megalomaniac knows, to save it, you must destroy it. But not everyone, of course. He aims to save those he deems worthy and to do so he puts Donald and several other low-level latch-keys to work on a project for him; an underground project that includes the silos readers have come to love in Howey’s Wool series. However, throughout Donald’s story in First Shift, we are reminded again that not all is what it seems.
During the planning and construction phrase of the silos, Donald is partnered with a woman, Anna, he dated before marrying his wife. Anna happens to be the senator’s daughter, but we get a sense that she’s not really interested in Donald. Though he is inexplicably drawn to his former girlfriend, Donald remains loyal to his wife and minimizes the contact between himself and his former girlfriend. Though told in snippets, we begin to see a deep bond between Donald and his wife. A bond that isn’t necessarily romantic, but strong and enduring.
In the future, Troy struggles through his shifts on duty as the IT head. Not the IT head of one silo, but all of them. The pills he takes to keep him sane (and forgetful) lose their grip. After a riot destroys one of the 50 silos, Troy stops taking the pills and begins to piece together what the Senator’s daughter really had in mind for him. And in the end, the reader begins to wonder if we really know what Senator Thurman has in mind for the silo’s population.
Though Donald/Troy is not as likable of a character as Wool 1′s Holsten or Wool 2-5′s Jules, Donald/Troy is someone we can relate to. I so very much wanted him to see beyond his own needs and view the big picture. But like us, he struggles to please those he thinks he should and not think for himself. I can only hope he can redeem himself in the next installment.
Highly recommended read.