|House of the Sun|
|Cover art||Jim Thiesen|
|Publication date||1. Juni 1995|
|Original price||4,99 $|
House of the Sun is a Shadowrun novel by Nigel Findley.
- DIRK MONTGOMERY IS BACK
Dirk Montgomery, former Lone Star cop turned shadowrunner, knows the dark byways of Seattle and the Amerind city of Cheyenne. He knows when to take chances and when to take cover. But when a megacorporate exec demands payment of an old debt, Dirk finds himself where the familiar rules don't apply anymore.
The Kingdom of Hawai'i is a tropical playground...with a sinsister underside. Dirk must navigate its treacherous paths as he tries to stay one step ahead of all the factions battling to control the islands: the megacorps, the government, the rebels, and the yakuza. Not to mention dragons, elves, new friends...and old enemies.
Warning: Spoiler Information Below
Dirk Montgomery, former Lone Star cop turned shadowrunner, knows the dark byways of Seattle and the Amerind city of Cheyenne. He knows when to take chances and when to take cover. But when a megacorporate exec demands payment of an old debt, Dirk finds himself where the familiar rules don 't apply anymore.
The Kingdom of Hawai'i is a tropical playground... with a sinister underside. Dirk must navigate its treacherous paths as he tries to stay one step ahead of all the factions battling to control the islands: the megacorps, the government, the rebels, and the yakuza. not to mention dragons, elves new friends... and old enemies.
Detailed plot summaryEdit
Since his last nightmare shadowrun in Seattle four years ago, Dirk Montgomery has been living and working in Cheyenne, Sioux Nation. Limiting himself to data analysis and low-risk jobs, Dirk's business has been slow. Dirk's past catches up with him when he receives a call from Jacques Barnard, the VP in charge of Yamatetsu corporation's North America division. Barnard hires Dirk to courier a sensitive message to the independent Kingdom of Hawai'i.
On the flight, Dirk studies the history of the island nation: In 2017, a native independence movement with major megacorporate backing and powerful magical resources successfully broke away from the United States in much the same way as the Native American Nations. The movement's leader, Danforth Ho, became Ali'i (king) under the name Kamehameha IV. The current Ali'i, Gordon Ho (Kamehameha V) is a shrewd politician balancing vital megacorporate interests against Na Kama'aina, a resurgent political movement to force the corps out of the islands. Na Kama'aina's militant faction, ALOHA (the Army for the Liberation Of HAwai'i), has been a growing concern in recent years.
Dirk steps off the plane into an unfamiliar world. He is met by his Hawai'ian contact, an ork bodyguard named Scott. Scott gives Dirk the insider's tour of the Honolulu metroplex and its outlying areas, introducing him to life in the islands and answering his questions about anything and everything. Dirk is particularly curious about the realities of shadowrunning in Paradise, and Scott expands his tour to include Hawai'i's underworld.
Scott takes Dirk to his appointment the next day. Dirk's message is for the oyabun of the Hawai'i yakuza, Ekei Tokudaiji. The message is never delivered—as soon as they are admitted for their audience with Tokudaiji, Scott kills the oyabun and his bodyguards then suicides with a belly-bomb that takes out the entire room. Dirk barely escapes with his life.
On the run from both the Yakuza and Yamatetsu, not knowing who to trust or where to turn, Dirk tries to hide in the shadows. He learns that Tokudaiji was widely regarded as a champion of the underdog and an opponent of corporate exploitation, and that the megacorps are being blamed for his death. Dirk begins to suspect that Scott was a member of ALOHA, and that the oyabun's assassination was engineered to turn public opinion against the megacorps.
Dirk takes a chance and makes contact with Barnard. Barnard tells him that the Na Kama'aina faction is moving against the megacorps and the Ali'i, and demands that Dirk convey his personal reassurance to King Kamehameha that Yamatetsu had nothing whatsoever to do with Tokudaiji's assassination. Barnard also warns Dirk that ALOHA and Na Kama'aina are ultimately controlled by the Great Dragon Ryumyo. Dirk is able to arrange a meeting between himself and the Ali'i. Immediately afterward, he receives a warning from Ryumyo not to get involved.
Dirk meets with Gordon Ho (King Kamehameha V), who takes a liking to the haole shadowrunner. Appreciating Dirk's value as a loose cannon in a volatile situation, Ho deputizes him, making Dirk a personal agent of the Ali'i. Their audience is interrupted by a report of a ritual sacrifice at Puowaina crater, a nearby site of considerable magical power. Dirk elects to investigate.
At the scene, Dirk encounters a mysterious elven magician who introduces himself as Quinn Harlech. The elf makes accusations and insinuations that go right over Dirk's head, apparently in the belief that Dirk is more deeply involved in events than he admits.
After leaving Puowaina, Dirk is attacked by ALOHA terrorists. He makes a narrow escape, only to be captured by security forces of the elven Telestrian Industries Corporation. Dirk is taken to their South Pacific offices in Honolulu, but his interrogation ends almost before it begins, as soon as he mentions Quinn Harlech.
On his own again, Dirk reports to Barnard. Acts of anticorporate terrorism are increasing throughout the islands, and Gordon Ho has been deposed as Ali'i. Ho himself contacts Dirk and arranges a meeting between him and a mysterious third party—who turns out to be an insect shaman accompanied by Dirk's own sister, Theresa, possessed by an insect spirit. The bug shaman explains the danger behind the sacrificial rituals being conducted by the Na Kama'aina and ALOHA magicians: an invasion of demonic Horrors, bringing death and devastation to the islands and then the world at large.
The megacorps respond to the deteriorating political situation in Hawai'i with a demonstration of the same tactical military power that helped establish the islands' independence in the first place—a rain of kinetic-energy "Thor shots" just offshore. Refusing to be intimidated, Na Kama'aina prepares to respond with a demonstration of their own, a Ghost-Dance-caliber ritual conducted from the power site at Haleakala ("House of the Sun"). According to Gordon Ho's magical advisors, this ritual seems certain to engender the holocaust predicted by the insect shaman.
Dirk leads a military strike force against the renegade kahunas (Hawai'ian magicians) at Haleakala. They encounter magical obstacles that seem insurmountable until Harlequin appears and throws his own considerable power into the assault. After Harlequin and a loyal kahuna overcome the magical defenses, Dirk kills the renegades and aborts the ritual.
Derek "Dirk" Montgomery (alias Brian Tozer): A 35-year old reluctant shadowrunner living and working in Cheyenne, the capital of the Sioux Nation. He is a specialist at data analysis. Dirk was born and raised in the Seattle Metroplex. He studied computer science for three years at the University of Washington, before dropping out to join Lone Star. Dirk skipped on his contract after basic training, joining the ranks of the SINless as a private investigator and sometime shadowrunner. Dirk's only living relative is his sister Theresa, a recovering BTL-simsense addict. Dirk's left arm is a cyber replacement provided by Yamatetsu corporation, a legacy of his last shadowrun in Seattle. His old self-image as a tough, self-reliant, hard-boiled PI didn't survive that experience—since then, Dirk has become a virtual recluse, leading a paranoid life and avoiding risk at any cost.
in order of their appearanceEdit
- Sharon Louise Young (Sly): retired decker, fixer, sometime Mr. Johnson
- Jonathan Bridge: ork, Sioux citizen, one of ALOHA's leaders in Hawai'i
- Mother: "big, bad, bald ork," Dirk's landlord in Cheyenne
- Jennifer Arnequist (Jenny): female Amerind troll fixer in Cheyenne
- Theresa Montgomery: Dirk's sister, recovering BTL addict, host for an insect spirit
- Jocasta Yzerman Brock: newscaster for KCPS in Seattle, ex-flame of Dirk's
- Jacques Barnard: executive vice president of Yamatetsu North America
- Mary Luce: senior Vice President, Yamatetsu Seattle
- Wolf (Rick Larson): Seattle shadowrunner, associate of Argent
- Argent: Prime Runner from Seattle
- Scott*: ork bodyguard, rigger, agent for Yamatetsu, secret ALOHA sympathizer
- Elsie Vogel: Scott's employer at Nebula Systems
- Quincy: technical wizard in Seattle
- Te Purewa (Mark Harrop): street samurai, muscular Maori complete with facial tattoos
- Ekei Tokudaiji*: yakuza oyabun
- Maletina: waitress at Cheeeseburger in Paradise
- Akaku'akanene: Hawai'ian kahuna shaman, Nene totem
- Hawai'ian/ALOHA shadowrunners:
- --Kat: human woman, team leader
- --Moko: ork muscle
- --Poki: elf decker
- --Zack: ork weapons expert
- --??: Chinese dwarf
- --Beta: female ork
- Naheka: dragon, feathered serpent dracoform, leader of ALOHA terrorist group, vassal of Ryumyo
- Ryumyo: Great Dragon, oriental dracoform
- Gordon Ho (King Kamehameha V): constitutional monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai'i
- Ortega: aide de camp to King Kamehameha
- Saito: Hawai'ian National Police Force detective
- Quentin "Quinn" Harlech (Harlequin): immortal elf, powerful magician
- Chantal Monot: president of South Pacific Operations for Telestrian Industries Corp in Hawai'i
- Louis Pohaku*: bodyguard
- Alana Kono*: bodyguard
- Lupo: bodyguard
- these characters are dead by the end of the novel.
Cheyenne (Sioux Nation capital):
- Buffalo Jump: dive bar, popular with Cheyenne shadowrunners
- The Avalon: downtown apartment block
- Dirk's apartment building on Randall Avenue
Casper (Sioux Nation):
- International Airport
Oahu / Honolulu (capital of Hawai'i):
- Awalani Airport (Paradise Lost s.66)
- Diamond Head hotel: Luxury hotel under Diamond Head in Kapiolani Park
- Kapiolani Park
- International Marketplace
- Royal Hawai'ian Hotel: luxury hotel, called "Pink Lady" because of its distinctive color
- Cheeseburger in Paradise: dive bar and strip club in Ewa
- Iolani Palace: seat of government on Oahu in 2056, equivalent to the UCAS White House
- Tokudaiji's estate in Kaneohe Bay
- Ilima Joy: cheap hotel in Waipahu
- Puowaina (Paradise Lost p. 76): Hill of Sacrifices, aka. Punchbowl crater, public park
- Telestrian Industries Corporation office building: three stories above ground, two below
- New Foster Tower: upscale apartment building in Waikiki, ocean views
- Sand Island: corporate special enterprise zone
- Kaiao Field: Hawai'i National Guard airfield, formerly Hickam Air Force Base
- Haleakala: dormant volcanic crater, altitude 10,000 feet; Hawai'ian for "House of the Sun"
Notes and analysisEdit
Nigel Findley was the author of a number of Shadowrun bookp. He wrote the novels 2XS (1991), Shadowplay (1993), Lone Wolf (1994), and House of the Sun (1995). He also wrote a dozen sourcebooks: Paranormal Animals of North America (1990), The Universal Brotherhood (1990), Native American Nations 1 (1991), Native American Nations 2 (1991), Neo-Anarchist's Guide to Real Life (1992), One Stage Before (1992), Tir Tairngire (1993), Corporate Shadowfiles (1993), Lone Star (1994), Paradise Lost (1994), Double Exposure (1994), and Aztlan (1995).
Dirk Montgomery was the hero of Nigel Findley's first book, 2XS, in which Jacques Barnard also played a major role, and an insect shaman named Adrian Skyhill was the villain. Sharon Young was featured in his second novel, Shadowplay, and Rick Larson (Wolf) was the hero of his third, Lone Wolf. The legendary shadowrunner Argent appeared in all three bookp.
In his earlier novels, Nigel Findley displayed an intimate personal familiarity with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. In House of the Sun, he demonstrates the same competence with Hawai'i. The language, attitudes, and geography are all dead-center.
p. 14: "I'd never had any desire to prove I was the baddest, steel-hooped motherfragger ever to walk the streetp. Not only did an acquaintance of mine--maybe a friend, depending on your definition--have a lock on the title, in my biased opinion, but experience told me too many people got themselves rather dead trying to go that route. Better a live rat than a dead juggernaut, I'd always figured." The friend Dirk is referring to is Argent.
p. 35: "The only airport in the Sioux Nation capable of handling full-on suborbitals is in Casper, not in Cheyenne--and almost 300 klicks away." This matches the profile in Native American Nations vol.1 (p. 93). After taking a Skybus domestic flight from Cheyenne to Casper, Dirk navigates the international airport, passing through three weapons checkpoints: at the main entrance, at emigration control, and at the boarding gate. GMs should keep this in mind if/when their players fly commercial.
p. 51: amusing anecdote. "Call it the Montgomery Principle of Inverse Relationshipp. The faster you can get somewhere, the longer the wait for customs at the other end... I timed it. After spending only forty-some minutes to travel six thousand klicks, it took more than sixty minutes to traverse the fifteen meters from the end of the customs/immigration lineup to freedom in the lobby of the airport.
p.53: "Impulsively, I pulled off my shoes and made fists with my toes in the deep-pile carpeting. (One of my favorite flat-film movies from the last century recommends it as a cure for jet-lag, and who am I to disagree?)" That would be the original Die Hard, on the unlikely chance that somebody missed it.
p. 68: The "second most popular elective medical procedure" in Hawai'i is dermal armor. Between local custom and the climate, body armor is both really obvious and really uncomfortable. The most popular is genetic treatment of the skin to block UV light—permanent sunscreen. Scott's is SPF 85. It didn't make the cut for Man & Machine, but interested runners can get it for 5000¥. For interested runners and GMs, I'd call it a variation on Skin Pigmentation (cosmetic bioware, M&M p. 76)
p. 70: "According to Scott, the official population of Honolulu is almost three million--just a hundred thousand or so less than Seattle'p. That's the official figure, of course, in both casep. In Seattle, if you lump in the SINless--the homeless, the indigent, the transient, and the shadowy--the total rises to, depending on which estimate you believe, just short of four million to well over five and a quarter million."
p. 112: "With a sigh, I remembered some of the resources I had access to back in Seattle. Rosebud the dwarf, a quasi-legal technomancer with computing power equivalent to a MultiVAX installed right in her braincase. And, for bigger challenges, the ex-decker called Agarwal ... no, he was dead, now, wasn't he?" Rosebud was one of Dirk's contacts in 2XS; Agarwal was a friend of Sly's, killed in Shadowplay.
p. 124: One of the ALOHA shadowrunners refers to "Neheka." In the published adventure Paradise Lost, "Naheka" is the feathered serpent in control of ALOHA. Variant spelling is probably a typo. On p. 134, Jacques Barnard identifies Naheka as a vassal of the Japanese Great Dragon, Ryumyo, (likewise stated in Paradise Lost, p. 58). Ryumyo himself contacts Dirk on p. 146, warning against interfering in his attempts to destabilize the megacorps in Hawai'i. Ryumyo is plainly not a supporter of the megacorps, not even of the Japanacorpp.
Ryumyo's involvement is one of the more interesting elements of the novel. Through Naheka, Ryumyo controls ALOHA (the Army for the Liberation Of HAwai'i), a terrorist faction opposed to megacorporate interests in the islandp. An ALOHA assassin (Scott) is armed with powerful magic and sent to take out Ekei Tokudaiji, the top Yakuza oyabun in Hawai'i. Ryumyo is also rumored to have his claws deep into the Yakuza (Underworld Sourcebook, p. 41; Mob War, p. 60, 64). Is this a case of the left talon not knowing what the right talon is up to? More likely, it's just another example of the ruthlessness of dragons and their willingness to sacrifice people—even oyabun—to further their convoluted schemep.
Another interesting question about Ryumyo's involvement: The anti-corporate Na Kama'aina faction of Hawai'i's government, with whom the Great Dragon is aligned, is the one responsible for Project Sunfire. Except for the intervention of Harlequin and Dirk, the kahunas in Project Sunfire would have precipitated an invasion of Horrorp. Was Ryumyo aware of the danger? Did he care? Why not?
p. 149: "According to some Volkswagon propaganda I'd scanned a while back, the Electro is supposed to have a top end of 75 klickp. Sure, chummer. The Volkswagon engineers must have dropped the fragging thing off a bridge to get that figure." True, according to the Rigger Black Book (p. 8), which gives the VW Electro a top speed of 72 kph. Rigger 2 (p. 166) upgrades that to 90 kph. Newer models must have more zip.
p. 172: Dirk encounters Harlequin, one of the major movers-and-shakers of the Awakened World and quite probably the world's most powerful living magician. His comments appear repeatedly in Shadowrun sourcebooks under the name "Laughing Man." Harlequin is the central character of the Harlequin and Harlequin's Back campaign bookp. He appears in several short stories by Tom Dowd--Wyrm Talk (1991), Voices from the Past (1993), and Post Mortem (1996)--and two other Shadowrun novels: Worlds Without End (Caroline Specter, 1995) and Beyond the Pale (Jak Koke, 1998). IMO, only Tom Dowd and Nigel Findley have ever written this character well.
p. 181: special security details for Telestrian Industries Corporation are masters of the quiet takedown. They bagged Dirk in Pearl City with the same effortless competence that they displayed trapping Larson in Lone Wolf (Nigel Findley, 1994).
p. 196: "Cab drivers know all the best bars, the best restaurants, the best flops, and the best places to get into deep trouble." Gospel truth on all four counts, from personal experience in multiple countriep. :-)
p. 210: "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold, and all that drek." Dirk (Findley) is aptly paraphrasing a William Butler Yeats poem, Second Coming. Often quoted whenever drek hits the fan.
p. 219: Theresa Montgomery has become host to an insect spirit, in what appears to be a completely successful merge. As a "good merge" flesh-form, the insect spirit looks exactly like her, has complete access to her memories, and can mimic her perfectly (MitS, p. 128). Although the bug spirit claims that Theresa's self—her personality and ego—remains intact, it is only a lie intended to win Dirk's cooperation. Theresa's personality was destroyed by the insect spirit's possession. Dirk understands the truth, but refuses to admit it to himself.
p. 224: Three major power sites in the Hawai'ian islands are Puowaina (Oahu), Haleakala (Maui), and Honaunau Bay (?).
p. 229: As his price for serving the insect shaman's purpose (i.e. saving the world from the Horrors), Dirk demands that the bugs free his sister Theresa from their control. The insect shaman agrees, but has no intention of fulfilling his part of the bargain. Indeed, he couldn't even if he wanted to. For all intents and purposes, Theresa is dead, killed by the spirit that possessed her.
p. 239: Gordon Ho asks Barnard about his uncle Donald—that would be Prince Donald K. Ho III, a permanent resident of Zurich Orbital (Corporate Shadowfiles p. 92) who dies sometime between 2056 (this novel) and 2061 (Corporate Download, p. 19).
p. 246: The Hawai'ian islands won their independence from the United States in August 2017, partly through support from the megacorporations, but also by flexing their own magical muscle. Taking their cue from the Ghost Dancers in North America, Hawai'ian kahunas performed their own ritual in Haleakala Crater, already a site of considerable magical power.
"The details were different, of course. Hawai'ian traditions are very different from those that Daniel Howling Coyote used. But the principles were the same: massed shamans--kahunas--using their own life-force to power a great ritual. We had a major advantage that Howling Coyote didn't however. We had those sites of power you mentioned. The kahunas were able to draw a large measure of the mana they needed directly from the land, rather than from their own life-force. Some died anyway, of course, but the cost was much less for us than for Howling Coyote."
p. 265: Haleakala has been a dormant volcano "since 2018," according to one of the Hawai'ian military pilotp. There's no mention anywhere of an eruption of Haleakala, however. The Great Ghost Dance in North America triggered four volcanic eruptions inside the continental U.p. on 17 August 2017: Mts Ranier, Hood, St. Helens, and Adamp. Danforth Ho (King Kamehameha IV) declared Hawai'ian independence on 22 August 2017 following the kahunas demonstration of magical terrorism, after which he established the Sunfire Project on the Haleakala power site. The pilot may be under the impression that Haleakala erupted on secession day, when in fact it was simply the location of the kahunas ritual. Or the dormant volcano may actually have become active, briefly, as an after-effect of the magical upheavalp.
About the cover: a very disappointing picture by Jim Theissen, which does not actually represent any event from the book. Perhaps it's supposed to show Dirk's escape from the oyabun's assassination (s.96), but I somehow doubt that's a Yakuza troll chasing him.
- Barnard is promoted again, on the fast track to Chief Operations Officer of Yamatetsu Corporation (Corporate Download, s.115).
- Gordon Ho is reinstated as Ali'i, and the nationalist Na Kama'aina political faction is significantly weakened. ALOHA is virtually eliminated.
- The threat of a mass invasion of Horrors is forestalled until its final resolution in Beyond the Pale.
- The insect shaman reneges on his promise to free Dirk's sister. Theresa remains in the clutches of the insect spirits.
- Dirk seems firmly on the road to becoming a broken, embittered burn-out.
- German: Haus der Sonne
- French: La maison du soleil
- Mason's: 4 out of 5. This is a superb Shadowrun novel, though the plot feels a little contrived in places. All of the classic shadowrun elements are here, loaded with inside references to other novels and sourcebooks, and fans of Shadowrun fiction won't want to miss it. Give it a 4 out of 5.
- Doug's: A (out of A, B, C, D scale) Good characters, a complex but understandable plot, a good mystery, a smash-bang climax that pus some Schwartzeneggar films to shame, it's all there. It's really too bad this was Findley's last novel — he died shortly after finishing it. I would have liked to see more of Dirk Montgomery. I'll just have to be satisfied with this, though. It won't be hard — it's a good book.
- Goodreads: 3.69 (as of June 2013)
- Based partially on Mason's review