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Literature / Deus Ex: Icarus Effect

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The heroes of another story.

Deus Ex: Icarus Effect is a prequel novel to the Deus Ex Universe, released in 2011. It takes place prior to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and follows a special operative who begins to uncover evidence of a global conspiracy that threatens to shift the balance of power.

British Special Air Service operative Ben Saxon is the only man left standing after he and his unit are shot down over Australian airspace by a military drone. Looking for revenge, Saxon agrees to join the Tyrants, a group of augmented commandoes who undertake dangerous and politically-sensitive missions for the private military company Belltower. At the same time, Secret Service agent Anna Kelso survives an attack by the Tyrants and begins to delve into a complex conspiracy that resulted in the death of a prominent pro-augmentation CEO.


Saxon and Kelso's paths converge when they are both contacted by members of a shadowy hacker collective, who clue them in to a larger conspiracy involving the Illuminati and the imminent assassination of the leader of Humanity Front, William Taggart. Saxon is forced to go against his former comrades and work to stop the assassination while protecting Anna and fighting to stop a monumental shift in political power.

The book was released prior to Human Revolution's release, and features story elements and characters from both that game and the original game. It also received a video game sequel in the form of the mobile (later PC) title Deus Ex: The Fall, which covers some of the same ground as the book via flashbacks.


This game provides examples of:

  • Bad Boss:
    • Namir, who is revealed to have killed the close contacts of new recruits for the Tyrants, under the pretense of not giving them any emotional attachments to care about.
    • Ron Temple, who is revealed to have been working for the Illuminati and (if the book is anything to go by) follows up on sending Anna to a detention center for the rest of her life by holding a party.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Namir mentions that Sarif's head of security, Adam Jensen, might pose problems with the Tyrants.
    • Morgan Everett and Lucius Debeers have a conversation in the final chapter where they reference various things like the "D Project".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Anna's "sobriety coin", which she had as a reminder of her past as The Alcoholic, and which she uses later to stab Barrett in the eye when he tries to torture her on the ship.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Hermann gets shot in the eye with a stun gun when Saxon escapes from the Tyrant jetliner.
    • Barrett also gets punched in the eye when Anna uses an improvised brass knuckle against him.
  • Face–Heel Turn: D-Bar, who switches allegiances during the NSF operation in Geneva.
  • Flare Gun: Anna uses one against Federova during one battle.
  • Hypocrite: Namir makes it a point to murder any close contacts of the recruits he brings into the Tyrants, and yet he himself has a family he cares for.
  • I Have Your Wife: Anna's boss, Ron Temple, explains that he forced to work for the Illuminati because they were threatening to kill his wife and children.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Saxon uses a fire extinguisher to take down Hardesty during his escape from the Tyrant jetliner.
    • Anna also uses her sobriety coin as a brass knuckle to punch Barrett in the eye.
  • It's Personal: Saxon's motivations for joining the Tyrants, and later, Namir's rationale for challenging Saxon to a one-on-one fight instead of killing him then and there.
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Namir gets shot three times at close range with a pistol by Saxon, but it doesn't do any serious damage (thanks to his augmentations) and leaves him briefly stunned.
  • Mexican Standoff: In the final confrontation between Saxon and the rest of the Tyrants.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The Tyrants, after leaving Saxon and Anna on the burning yacht.
  • Oh, Crap!: Anna, when the grenade rolls into Ron Temple's home right at their feet.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: D-Bar flips on the NSF and joins the Illuminati, only to have his neck broken soon afterwards.
  • Sex for Solace: Federova seduces Saxon seemingly out of a longing to feel some emotion.
  • Sole Survivor: Saxon, after his unit is massacred at the beginning of the novel. Later revealed to not be the case in The Fall.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Said by Anna at the end of the book.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Discussed. The titular "effect" is described as a biological as well as a social phenomenon where, to maintain "stability", if a small number out of a large group attains some distinct advantage, those lacking that advantage will attack the abberants until that advantage is gone. This is part of the reason that everything goes to hell in the actual game as well. Augmented people are discriminated against in society because they're both seen as "unnatural" due to supposedly going against the natural order, and with their abilities being superior to those of a regular human.
  • Villain Episode: From the perspective of the Tyrants.


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