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Burning Bright
Source cover en Burning Bright
©CGL
Attribution
Author Tom Dowd
Cover art Peter Peebles
Publication information
Publisher Roc Books
Publication date 1994
ISBN 0-451-45368-9
Language English
Pages 280
Original price 4,99 $

Burning Bright is a Shadowrun novel by Tom Dowd.

The novel is a prequel to the events covered in Bug City sourcebook. It focuses on the Chicago takeover by the insect spirits and the subsequent destruction of the city.

Detailed informationEdit

  • SPARE NO EXPENSE

MISSING: Mitch Truman, heir apparent to an entertainment megacorporation. He may have fled his parents for the sake of love, but if magic is involved the reason could be darker...

WEALTHY: Dan Truman, CEO of media giant Truman Technologies, doesn't care how much it costs--he wants his son back. He'll hire the best to find his heir, even if their motives are suspect...

EXPERIENCED: Kyle Teller's done this job before. He knows the tricks of the trade, and not only because he's a mage. He thinks finding the missing boy will be easy. Why shouldn't it be?

But will money and experience be enough to defeat the terrible power growing beneath the city of Chicago?

SpoilerEdit

Warning: Spoiler Information Below

In briefEdit

Kyle Teller is an Amerindian mage hired to find the missing son of a wealthy and powerful industrialist. The simple assignment becomes complicated when the trail leads to a hive of insect spirits, then becomes a nightmare when the city of Chicago erupts in the worst magical catastrophe since the Great Ghost Dance.

Timeline: the novel covers events from 14 August 2055 to early October that year.

Detailed plot summaryEdit

Part 1
Chicago, 19 August 2055 (corrected from 14 August 2055)

Freelance magical investigator Kyle Teller is in Chicago on business, which also affords him the opportunity to visit his family, his daughter Natalie and ex-wife Beth. Beth is worried about her sister, Ellen. Ellen Shaw belonged to a recently disbanded pseudo-religious cult called the Universal Brotherhood, and she hasn't adjusted well to her new independence. Kyle promises to look in on her -- he makes a phone call to a friend in the FBI, and learns that its Paranormal Task Force has been conducting a secret investigation of the UB and its members.

The following morning (20 Aug), Kyle meets his new employer -- media mogul Dan Truman, CEO of Chicago's top megacorp, Truman Technologies. Truman's seventeen-year-old son Mitchell has disappeared with his girlfriend, Linda Hayward, an older woman of whom his parents do not approve. Kyle attempts to locate Mitchell using ritual sorcery, but is unsuccessful. He believes the boy is hidden somewhere behind an astral barrier.

From Mitchell's sister Melissa, Kyle learns that Linda Hayward is a member of an all-female gang called the Desolation Angels, and that she can sometime be found at a club called the Kaleidoscope. Kyle and his ally spirit, Seeks-the-Moon, check out the club and encounter two other members of the gang. Both of them are powerful spirits of a kind neither Kyle nor Seeks-the-Moon can identify.

Mitchell Truman is found by an Eagle Security patrol unit in north Chicago, nearly catatonic from some unknown mental trauma. Upon examination, Kyle discovers that Mitchell's aura is so faint as to be practically nonexistent. Doctors cannot detect any brain function. Despite his comatose condition, Mitchell draws unusual attention -- a strange spirit attempts to pass the astral defenses Kyle established around the Trumans' penthouse, and a decker attempts to steal Mitchell's medical records from the hospital computer. After ensuring that the Trumans are properly protected, Kyle returns to his hotel.

In the morning (21 Aug), Kyle takes the time to check up on his sister-in-law, and discovers that Ellen has been missing for almost a week. Kyle's FBI contact warns him to disassociate himself from both Mitchell Truman and Ellen Shaw, the first suggestion that the two cases might be related. At the Truman Tower, Kyle is introduced to a Knight Errant special ops unit called a Firewatch team and its captain, an old friend named Anne Ravenheart. Evidence accumulates that Knight Errant has an agenda that goes beyond the security of the Truman family.

Kyle gets his first glimpse at that agenda when the elementals he assigned to protect Mitchell Truman are suddenly, unexpectedly destroyed. Kyle projects astrally to Mitchell's hospital, where he discovers a pitched battle between Knight Errant forces and what appear to be insect spirits. Kyle defeats a powerful Roach spirit in astral combat, but Mitchell is nowhere to be found.

Using a sample taken against just such an eventuality, Kyle locates Mitchell again using ritual sorcery. Not trusting Knight Errant forces, he instead turns to Eagle Security (Chicago's law enforcement contractor). Before meeting with the Eagle strike team, Kyle returns to his hotel to retrieve his foci. There, he is met by Linda Hayward, who reveals herself as a Mantid spirit. She claims that Mitchell was her friend and not her victim; that he was taken by her enemies, the insect Queens. She vows to exact her own revenge, and warns Kyle to stay out of her way.

Kyle and the Eagle Security special ops team stage a raid on the building to which Kyle traced Mitchell Truman -- an old Universal Brotherhood chapterhouse. Inside, Kyle and the strike team confront and defeat a nest of Roach insect spirits, and discover over a hundred cocooned human bodies. Unable to save the victims, the strike team is forced to euthanize them.

The next day (22 Aug), Kyle begins investigating other former holdings of the Universal Brotherhood, finding what may be several additional hives. At the largest and most suspicious of these, an unlisted warehouse, he also discovers a Knight Errant surveillance team. Kyle catches up with Knight Errant just as they are about to commence their assault. The tactical commander, Anne Ravenheart, and her boss, Knight Errant CEO Roger Soaring Owl, agree to let Kyle observe from the command vehicle.

Despite careful preparations and considerable tactical experience on the part of Knight Errant, the assault does not go well. The strike force encounters an insect spirit colony of unprecedented size, including multiple breeds. In fact, they have stumbled onto the primary hive in North America. As a horde of insect spirits disperses over Chicago, Soaring Owl initiates a contingency plan prepared against the unlikely discovery -- Damocles, a subtactical thermonuclear warhead. Before the weapon can be triggered, however, the command vehicle is attacked by insect spirits and Kyle goes down fighting.

Part 2
The Chicago Containment Area, After 22 August 2055

Badly injured, Kyle regains consciousness near the ruins of the KE command vehicle. He drifts in and out of consciousness for four days, until he is found by Seeks-the-Moon (on 26 Aug), who moves him to an abandoned home and treats his injuries. It is another two days before Kyle regains consciousness (28 Aug). While Kyle is injured and unconscious, Seeks-the-Moon escapes his control and became a free spirit. Seeks-the-Moon nonetheless remains to help his former master.

Kyle sleeps another two days (to 30 Aug) before waking again, sufficiently recovered. From Seeks-the-Moon, he learns that central Chicago has been overwhelmed by thousands of insect spirits. The UCAS military has established a containment zone, walling up the infested region, trapping the human populace inside with the bugs. In a week, the zone has acquired the feel of a bad post-apocalyptic movie.

Arming himself from the remains of the Knight Errant strike force, Kyle and Seeks-the-Moon travel north on foot, looking for Kyle's family, hoping against hope that they weren't caught inside the containment zone. They avoid conflicts with looters, insect spirits, and gangs. At his ex-wife's home, Kyle finds a note from her saying she and their daughter would be staying with "friends of her sister, Ellen." There seems little doubt that Beth and Natalie are in the clutches of the Universal Brotherhood.

Kyle spends the night looking for Beth and Natalie among the thousands of refugees along the north end of the Zone, without success. Instead, he makes contact with the surviving members of the Knight Errant strike team, still led by Anne Ravenheart.

In the morning (31 Aug), Ravenheart finally reestablishes contact with her superiors, and the news isn't good. On the recommendation of Lofwyr and delegates of the elven nations, the UCAS is preparing to saturate the Containment Zone with deadly chemical pesticides that will destroy both the bug spirits (who are symbolically vulnerable to such substances) and the human populace. The only alternative is for Ravenheart to locate the new primary hive and use Damocles to destroy it.

The insect spirits have been luring humans into holding centers, for future use as host bodies in their hives and nests. Ravenheart intends to locate one of these holding centers nearing its capacity, then follow its occupants when they are moved to the hive. Late in the day, Ravenheart finds a promising target. As fate would have it, her chosen target is located near Ellen Shaw's apartment. Before Kyle is able to ascertain whether his family is among the prisoners, the bugs begin separating their captives and moving them out by bus. Ravenheart's people are able to follow the buses to the new primary hive.

Astral inspection of the hive reveals a disturbing fact -- the insect queens are cooperating in a ritual that will construct an impenetrable defensive barrier. For any attack to succeed, it must be made before the ritual can be completed. Sometime after midnight (early 1 Sep), Kyle leads an attempt to recapture the three buses that haven't yet been taken inside the hive. They escape with two, the third is destroyed. Kyle's family remains missing.

The Damocles drone makes it inside the Hive moments before the magical barrier is completed. When it detonates, the thermonuclear explosion is mostly contained by the ward. The Hive and all of its queens are utterly destroyed.

CharactersEdit

Major characters:

  • Kyle Teller: The child of an Amerind father and an Anglo mother, Kyle was raised in the Sioux Nation. Being a halfbreed, he had a difficult childhood. His magical abilities may have made up the difference when they began to manifest, but Kyle's logical mind was drawn away from the shamanic path toward the hermetic tradition, to the final embarrassment of his father. Kyle attended Columbia University in New York, where he earned his degree in comparative metaphysics with a minor in behavioral psychology. He met Anne Ravenheart at the university. After graduation, Kyle spent seven years as a field agent and special investigator for the UCAS Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Paranormal Affairs. He married his wife, Beth, and they had a daughter, Natalie. Kyle earned some notoriety after catching a sensational serial killer in 2050. His career with the Bureau and his marriage to Beth ended when he had an affair with the wife of an influential senator (Sen. Birch), after which he became a freelance magical investigator, specializing in missing persons. Kyle is an initiated hermetic mage, he regularly employs elementals and watcher spirits, ritual sorcery and conventional spellcasting. He has some unobtrusive cyberware, including a datajack and image link. He has an ally spirit named Seeks-the-Moon.
  • Hanna Uljakën: The personal executive secretary of Truman Technologies' CEO Dan Truman, Hanna is a woman who Gets Things Done. Her striking Nordic features are an asset which she ruthlessly exploits, bolstered by a magical focus (an earring) which augments her already considerable presence.
  • Seeks-the-Moon: Kyle's ally spirit, conjured according to "the Rigetti method," a Jungian process incorporating the darker, more repressed elements of the summoner's own personality. He is sarcastic and contrary, but nonetheless feels a close affinity to his master, such that he remains with him even after gaining his independence. Seeks-the-Moon has more visibly Amerindian features than Kyle. He is a capable sorcerer, with an intuitive understanding of magic that actually surpasses Kyle's.
  • Anne Ravenheart: The captain of Knight Errant's Firewatch Team Two, Anne is a skilled tactical commander and combat mage, with considerable experience in dealing with insect spirits. She knew Kyle Teller at Columbia University, which she attended on a Sioux military scholarship. After a tour of duty with the Sioux special forces, she went to work for Ares. Anne is loyal to the company line, diligently pursuing Ares' war against the bugs without question or complaint.

in order of their appearance:

  • Kyle Teller. private detective, mage
  • Elizabeth Breman (Beth): Kyle's ex-wife
  • Natalie: Kyle's daughter
  • Ellen Shaw: Beth's sister, clinically depressed, Universal Brotherhood convert
  • Dave Strevich: special agent, UCAS FBI Department of Paranormal Affairs
  • Hanna Uljakën
  • Daniel Truman: CEO of Truman Technologies, a prominent Chicago megacorp
  • Elaine Annworth Truman: Daniel Truman's wife, classical pianist
  • Melissa Truman: Truman's youngest daughter, 16, aspiring model
  • Mitchell Gregory Truman*: Truman's son, 17, bisexual
  • Linda Hayward: Mitchell Truman's girlfriend, Desolation Angel, secretly a Mantis spirit
  • Mr. Davress: Truman's private business secretary
  • Madelaine Truman: Truman's elder daughter
  • Anne-Marie: Truman's niece
  • Lt. William Facile: ork, Knight Errant liaison officer to Truman Technologies, heavily cybered
  • Seeks-the-Moon, Kyle's ally (later, free) spirit
  • Charlotte*: air elemental bound by Kyle
  • Delta*: watcher spirit bound by Kyle
  • Lt. Breslin: officer for Eagle Security, Chicago's public law enforcement agency
  • Dr. Stansfield: psychiatrist at Harold Washington University Hospital
  • Dr. Anna Douglas: medical doctor and metaphysicist at the Handlemann Institute
  • Elliot*: elemental bound by Kyle
  • Richard*: elemental bound by Kyle
  • John Mikayama: Fuchi executive, Beth's employer
  • Cap. Anne Ravenheart
  • Sgt. Kieth Vathoss: combat specialist for Firewatch Two
  • Lt. Paul Gersten*: combat mage, second in command of Firewatch Two
  • Dierdre Reinmann: Desolation Angel, Mantis spirit
  • Karyn Moffit: Desolation Angel, Mantis spirit
  • Mary Hauser: Desolation Angel, Mantis spirit
  • Gwen Pitvorec: Desolation Angel, Mantis spirit
  • Winston*: fire elemental bound by Kyle
  • Lekas: Chief of Special Operations, Eagle Security
  • Cdr. Joshua Malley*: leader of the Eagle Security special ops team
  • Sgt. Peter Woodhouse*: Eagle Security special ops combat mage
  • Sgt. Kenneth Walsh: Eagle Security special ops combat mage
  • Sgt. Sakai*: tactical coordinator for Firewatch Two
  • Roger Soaring Owl: CEO of Knight Errant Security
  • Cpl. David Lim: Knight Errant communications expert
  • Allen Douglas: ork, Knight Errant trooper
  • Deena Reaves: black elf woman, Knight Errant trooper
  • Canelli: Knight Errant security guard
  • Quess*: Knight Errant security guard
  • Keith: Knight Errant security guard
  • these characters are dead by the end of the novel.

LocationsEdit

Chicago:

  • Elizabeth Breman's home
  • Marriott SkyTower luxury hotel (I-57 and 103rd, in the Core)
  • Truman Tower, tallest building in Chicago (the Core)
  • Kaleidoscope nightclub (Fullerton and Halsted, in the Noose): Super Tuesday, p.69
  • Harold Washington University Hospital
  • Handlemann Institute, private hospital
  • Ellen Shaw's apartment (Cicero)
  • Universal Brotherhood chapterhouse (Harlem and Irving)
  • Universal Brotherhood Merchandising Center (Madison and Sangamon)
  • power plant (Cermak and Racine)

The Matrix

Notes and analysisEdit

Tom Dowd was the Shadowrun developer at FASA until 1995. He is the author of several short stories which have appeared in Dragon magazine, FASA promotional flyers, and the Into the Shadows anthology. He wrote two shadowrun novels, Night's Pawn (1993) and Burning Bright (1994). As shadowrun developer he made many contributions to sourcebooks, including large portions of Bug City (1995). He is the author of the Street Samurai Catalogue (1989), Fields of Fire (1994), and Cybertechnology (1995).

Dan Truman and his company, Truman Technologies, are described on page 113 of the Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America and page 88 of Bug City. Truman Technologies was built around ESP Systems, Inc., the original developer of simsense.


Kyle Teller, Hanna Uljakën, Seeks-the-Moon, Anne Ravenheart, Melissa Truman, and Linda Hayward are all described in the "Movers and Shakers" section of the Bug City sourcebook (p.146-149).


Prior to the events of this novel, the existence of insect spirits remained a fairly well-kept secret. Kyle Teller, a professional magical investigator and initiated hermetic mage, had never before encountered or even heard of them.


The effects of the Bug City disaster felt in Washington FDC are described in Just Compensation (Robert N. Charette, 1996).


The date for the beginning of the novel is not correct -- it is given as August 14th, but it should be the 19th. Part 1 is very specific about the passage of time, and there are only three days from the beginning of the novel to the disastrous KE raid and subsequent bug break-out on the 22nd, which is the date given for Part 2. Bug City (p.128) also dates the insect swarm on 22 August. From that point, there are nine days to the Cermak Blast early in the morning of 1 September. The Bug City timeline, however, puts the detonation of the nuclear weapon on 1 October. Somebody lose a month? Corrected dates are used in the Plot Summary above.


p.6: The Universal Brotherhood was shut down by the UCAS government in May 2055, most of its leaders imprisoned. The official reasons given were tax evasion and "conducting illegal medical experiments on the homeless." This is a reference to the published adventure, Double Exposure (Fraser Cain & Nigel Findley, 1994). The sinister truth is that the UB was a successful front for a coalition of insect spirit hives, originating in California Free State in 2043 and spreading around the world by 2055. The whole story is told in the Universal Brotherhood sourcebook (Nigel Findley, 1990). Rather than create a possible panic by disclosing the truth, government officials constructed various conventional pretexts with which to attack the organization. In keeping with its cover story, the government provides medical care, psychological treatment, and a generous settlement to the UB's mundane "victims" by redistributing its seized assets.


p.9-11: a quick overview of Chicago geography.


p.11, 80: Kyle uses his pocket phone with his datajack, superimposing the telecom video image over his normal eyesight via an image link.

p.15: Kyle owns several foci, but he refrains from using them to avoid the danger of focus addiction (Magic in the Shadows, p.45). They are kept in a locked box in the hotel safe, protected by an anchored Paralyze spell (Awakenings, p.136). Anchoring is a metamagical ability (Magic in the Shadows, p.70), enabling an initiate to prepare a spell that will take effect only when certain conditions are met.

p.20: Daniel Truman and his wife have been married 45 years. Both have used expensive "cellular cleansers and genetic rejuvenation" to maintain a youthful appearance. The Trumans have three children -- Melissa, 16; Mitchell, 17; and Madelaine, the eldest.

p.21: Truman has a valuable art treasure hanging in his office, an "enormous painting" rescued from the Chicago Art Institute. From Truman's comment -- "It's best viewed from the middle of the room. From there, you can see the dots very clearly." -- I would guess that this is supposed to be the famous Georges Seurat pointillist painting, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, last seen hanging in an apartment in the Noose three years earlier in Changeling (Chris Kubasik, 1992).

p.21: Kyle was referred to Truman by his brother-in-law. Kyle was employed to locate Truman's niece, Anna-Marie, when she ran away from home.

p.28: Lt. Facile's cyberware systems include: "a Richmond series-twelve neuromuscular accelerator, a Fuchi MPX-R headware comp and data-access package, Mitsuhama-Zeis ocular light-amplification systems, and a recent upgrade to level two for his Ares smartlink combat system." Translation: wired reflexes (unknown grade), headware memory and datajack (possibly knowsoft link as well), low-light retinal modification, and smartlink 2.

p.29: Knight Errant recently bought out Winter Security's contract as security provider for Truman Technologies. Eagle Security holds the public law enforcement contract for the city of Chicago. Knight Errant seems to be positioning itself to make a bid for the city contract when it comes up for renewal in eighteen months. In fact, Ares is preparing to exterminate Chicago's large concentration of insect spirits.

p.33-41: Kyle explains various magical processes to Hanna. Ally spirits, spellcasting, ritual sorcery.

p.39: Kyle attempts to locate Mitchell Truman using ritual sorcery (Magic in the Shadows, p.34). In lieu of a tissue sample, one of Mitchell's favorite T-shirts serves as the ritual's material link. SR3 makes no provision for sympathetic links, but they are described in the second-edition Grimoire (p.35). Kyle takes two hours to establish a hermetic circle and conduct the ritual, so he is working at a relatively low Force.

p.44-46: Kyle calls up an air elemental, Charlotte, and commits it to remote service protecting the Trumans' penthouse (SR3, p.187). He also calls up a watcher spirit, Delta, to act as courier should the need arise (MitS, p.102). Both spirits would have been initially summoned much earlier, using prolonged rituals, and kept on standby against future need. On p.78, Kyle commits two more elementals named Elliot and Richard to protect Mitchell's hospital room. On p.116, he calls up a fire elemental named Winston. A hermetic mage can control a number of elementals at one time equal to his Charisma -- Kyle's must be at least 4.

p.49: Linda Hayward is a member of an all-female gang called the Desolation Angels. The gang takes their name and colors from an album recorded by a group called Bad Company in the nineteen seventies. The Desolation Angels also appear in the Super Tuesday adventure, Casualties of War.

p.57-58: Kyle uses a Clairvoyance spell to see through a wall across a crowded room.

p.61-62: a discussion of bound spirits versus free spirits.

p.75: Kyle projects astrally and manifests. His astral form appears naked -- though it is a simple matter to shape clothing for the astral body (SR3, p.173), Kyle does not do so. Subconscious exhibitionist?

p.83: Knight Errant has three "Firewatch" combat strike teams, six people to a team, "a hard mix of cybernetics and magic." Not unlike a shadowrunning team. The teams operate around the world, and the FBI tries to keep tabs on them. Team Two is led by Anne Ravenheart, a classmate of Kyle's from Columbia University.

p.89: Kyle knows a spell that opens mechanical locks. Electronic maglocks, on the other hand, are dealt with more bluntly using a Power Bolt spell.

p.97: Knight Errant has identified five members of the Desolation Angels: Dierdre Reinmann, Karyn Moffit, Mary Hauser, Gwen Pitvorec, and Linda Hayward. KE seems to believe this is a complete roster, but Bug City introduces another Mantid, Vixen, and Super Tuesday adds Mara Suhar to their ranks.

p.103: Ares/Knight Errant began actively investigating insect spirits in February 2051 by offering rewards for information about "aberrant spirits." This would have been before Zeb Wanderly's failed attempt at posting his UB document (May, 2051), but well after Knight Errant's first encounter with Mantis Spirits in Dowd's short story Free Fall (2050) from the Into the Shadows anthology. The tragic death of simsense star Euphoria (Jan, 2051) in Queen Euphoria was probably the catalyst for Knight Errant's crusade against the bugs.

p.103: One of Kyle's elementals on remote service is destroyed: "Somewhere, deep inside of him, the echo of a part of his being that had been sent elsewhere twisted. He felt it burn, and then an instant later, dissolve as potential unexpectedly freed returned to him."

p.105-107: astral combat with a Roach spirit.

p.123-124: A reference to the events of the published adventure, Queen Euphoria (Stephan Wieck, 1990). Against the Hive was the last simsense of superstar Amanda Lockhart, aka. Euphoria. She was captured by insect spirits and invested with a Queen. Though the experience was fatal, it was nonetheless recorded by Euphoria's simrig. MegaMedia released the sim as a work of fiction.

p.130: Kyle achieved some measure of fame in the magical community in 2050 by solving the sensational case of Wilhemina Keene: "Keene had been a registered nurse and adept mage performing ritual sacrifices with newborn babies stolen from hospitals throughout New England. She killed twelve before the FBI finally caught up with her on the verge of murdering her thirteenth, the final element in whatever bizarre ritual she'd been performing."

p.133: You can gain the attention of an astrally projecting mage if you slap his physical body hard enough. A mage is aware of damage inflicted to his physical body even when he is not in residence (SR3, p.174).

p.179: The aftermath of the bugs' attack on the Knight Errant command vehicles is described in Bug City (p.117): "Something trashed a pair of big-ass trucks -- combat-support vehicles -- down there, just ripped apart their armor plating. There used to be a pile of bodies, all KE troopers from the looks of it, littered throughout the area."

p.227: Ravenheart breaks the bad news: "Two days ago, a joint delegation from the elven nations of Tir Tairngire, led by Prince Ehran the Scribe, and Tír na nÓg, led by Caoimhe O'Dunn, daughter of the High Steward, had a private audience with President Steele that lasted six hours... Sometime during the meeting the White House received a call from the great dragon Lofwyr. What I've been told is that the joint delegation, and Lofwyr, recommended to Steele that the area inside the Containment Zone be saturated with ANVAR-TFM, Saeder-Krupp's most powerful pesticide, which will turn the area into a toxic waste zone for centuries."

Public speculation on this secret meeting can be seen in Just Compensation (p.130). The dates don't jibe, however. Charette dates the meeting on 23 August 2055, while Dowd puts it on 29 August.

p.229: "We'd already dusted what we thought was the main hive in the Rocky Mountains a few months ago, after the Project Hope fiasco almost blew the lid off the whole thing." This is another reference to the published adventure, Double Exposure (Fraser Cain & Nigel Findley, 1994). Sponsored by the Universal Brotherhood, Project Hope was allegedly a program to set up work camps, providing the homeless and SINless with employment, shelter, and medical care. In fact, it was a ruse to supply host bodies for the Hive.

p.233: "Kyle pointed out that a nuclear weapon had been detonated only five times in anger since its invention over a century ago -- the two dropped on Japan in 1945 and the three on Libya by the Israelis in 2004." Kyle's missing at least one -- according to Find Your Own Truth (Robert Charette, 1991), Baghdad (Iraq) was also the victim of a nuclear weapon.

p.234: At half a kiloton, Damocles is a tactical warhead. Compared to the strategic nukes used on Hiroshima in 1945 (14 kilotons) or Libya in 2004 (100 kilotons). The name Damocles comes from Greek mythology. After praising his lord extravagantly, Damocles was invited by him to a banquet. The lord seated Damocles beneath a naked sword suspended by a single thread, as a demonstration of the precarious nature of power and prestige.

p.258-259: Anne describes what happens to insect spirits when a Queen is destroyed: "Roaches don't care. They really don't have queens. Same for flies and beetles and the others that have 'nests' rather than hives. The true hivers, with real queens, they usually go nuts and either mill around the queen's body or start attacking each other. I think the ants tend to do that." This more or less agrees with Magic in the Shadows (p.130), hive insect spirits are either destroyed or become free when their queen is killed.

p.261-262, 268: Between them, Kyle and Anne summon 10 "attack dog" watcher spirits, to harass and distract the bugs on their raid. As with elementals, a mage can summon and control a number of watchers equal to his or her Charisma attribute (MitS, p.100).


p.266-279: the final attack on the hive and detonation of the warhead are witnessed and reported in the "City Under Siege" section of Bug City (p.21).

The anonymous interview describing insect spirit torpor, titled "The Big Bug Sleep" in Bug City (p.63), is almost certainly with Kyle Teller.

About the cover: The cover portrait by Peter Peebles depicts Kyle Teller armed with a Barret Model 121 heavy sniper rifle (the weapon is an exact match for the picture in Fields of Fire, p.35), presumably acquired from the remains of the Knight Errant strike force. The cowboy behind him must be Seeks-the-Moon, though he doesn't come close to the spirit's description on p.31. The scene is probably supposed to be that on p.198, where Kyle and Seeks-the-Moon prepare for their trip north through the newly established Containment Zone in search of Kyle's missing family.

AftermathEdit

The destruction of the primary insect hive and its queens throws many of the insect spirits inside the Containment Zone into torpor. Kyle, Anne Ravenheart, and the surviving Knight Errant troops establish one of the Zone's largest safe havens at the Wrigley Dome (Bug City, p.116). The Chicago Containment Zone remains in effect until February 2058, by which time Ares Macrotechnology has managed to exterminate most if not all of the bug spirits using an Awakened bacteria called Strain III (see Threats and Target: UCAS).

TranslationsEdit

  • German: Nuke City
  • French: Feu d'enfer
  • Hungarian: Vakító fény

Reviews Edit

  • Mason's: 5 out of 5.
    Apart from its own considerable merits, Burning Bright sets the stage for the Bug City sourcebook and is practically required reading for any Gamemaster who intends to send his players into the Chicago Containment Zone. Dowd's writing is rich with details about the Shadowrun world, smoothly integrated into his compelling storytelling. This is one of the very best Shadowrun novels. 5 out of 5. Read it.
  • Doug's: A (out of A, B, C, D scale)
    I found Burning Bright to be one of the better books in the Shadowrun universe. Its gradual escalation of the presented threat is classic, while avoiding the clichés of 2XS. Kyle is also one of the more appealing protagonists. He's a bit more rounded than some of the past heroes. His personal history isn't as detailed as some, but he seems like a person, not some set of attributes and skills necessary to take on the challenge in front of him. There's also plenty of action as the adversary is revealed, and the last third of the book sets a whole new tone for a Shadowrun book.
  • Goodreads: 3.73 (as of June 2013)

SourcesEdit

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