Ace, Sept 2002, 6.99, 416 pp.
Tau Wolfsinger is a brilliant, cutting edge scientist who works on Artificial Intelligence for NASA. He is unhappy because he can't get funding because he's too independent a thinker and the powers that be believe that Tau's ideas that an A.I. can build a city is to dangerous to explore. His personal life is going down the tubes as well with his fiancee Kate heading to Mars for a long time.
Evidence of an ancient civilization has been discovered on the red planet and Kate is one of the archeologists going to excavate the site. Neither Tau nor Kate know they are being manipulated by a shadow government known as the Davos group who want to find out how these ancient artifacts can be used to further their goals. They believe Tau is the best person to figure out what these artifacts and portals are all about so they give the scientist the funding he needs providing he does the testing on Mars.
Bruce Balfour does an excellent job of explaining the concepts of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and nanotechnology in layman's turns. His protagonist is a mild-mannered person who can play hardball when the situation warrants it. THE FORGE OF MARS is an action packed science fiction thriller that is a one sitting read.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner