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Literature / Duumvirate

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Two Dominators are better than one.
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Duumvirate, the sequel to Billy and Howard, like many other novels, features a few gifted teenagers discovering their place in the world.

The only difference is that here, they own it.

The book gathers a number of strange reactions in people who read it.


Tropes present:

  • Evil Overlord: Deconstructed entirely. The Evil Overlord's Guide is quoted more than once. The Illuminati is portrayed as a society of six thousand of them, and it's the Duumvirate's job to keep them under control.
  • Gambit Pileup: Every Illuminatus has his own agenda. There are six thousand Illuminati, some more devious than others. The title characters have no choice but to not care about what everyone may or may not be plotting, so long as it doesn't affect them directly. It is implied that this state of affairs is more or less constant.
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  • Happiness in Slavery: Good (as in competence, not as in morality) masters have their servants get to this state quickly.
  • Healing Factor: Killing an engineered is a matter of either inflicting direct brain damage or making them lose enough blood. Their regeneration isn't what makes this difficult, however...
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Engineereds eat quite a bit more than a normal human, particularly if they're regenerating severe wounds.
  • The Illuminati: The story is written from the point of view of the Illuminati themselves.
  • Immune to Drugs: It takes an enormous amount of pot to get an engineered even mildly buzzed.
  • Little Miss Badass: At the age of fourteen and a half, Sarah Mortis has a body count in the hundreds and commands a small army of assassins. The previous commander steps aside because he knows what's good for him.
  • Moral Guardians: It really should be no surprise that they've come after this. Reddit has a link.
  • More Dakka: A five-hundred-megawatt laser isn't enough? Try two hundred gigawatts!
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Quadrus "Quad" Dominus starts carrying a gun for each of his four hands after a brush with death. He's six at the time.
  • Power Echoes: The twins have a doubled larynx for exactly this reason.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: The Operator developed a retrovirus to bestow Transhumanity on whoever received it and injected himself with it the second it was done synthesizing.
  • Psycho Electro: Parricidal Luke is less flashy than most examples on this page. It's the speed, strength, and raw hatred that make him so horribly dangerous.
  • Rule of Cool: It is heavily, repeatedly implied that Illuminati technicians regularly sit down and work for years on projects simply to accomplish this trope.
  • Shown Their Work: There are a number of parts where the author clearly did the math and wants everyone to know it.
  • Space Plane: The main characters' fusion-powered jet can take them to Mars without a booster.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Operator creates at least five of these. The book ends when it's time to unleash them.
  • Transhuman: Almost everyone is either born transhuman, becomes transhuman, or desperately wants to be transhuman. When your regeneratively immortal friends can play Bullet Hell games at maximum difficulty without breaking a sweat, and dodge actual bullets for that matter, you tend to get a deep appreciation for genetic superiority.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Averted, with the main characters wishing that this would happen.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Even the littlest kids are perfectly willing to kill at the drop of a hat. It's all just a game to them.
  • Tyke Bomb: Every last Northberg kid is this and a Child Prodigy.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The main characters eventually determine that human society cannot survive genetic alteration. No points for guessing their solution.
  • Villain Protagonist: And villain antagonists, villain contagonists, and villains for minor characters. There are nice guys, but no heroes. Paul tries to be one, but his loyalty to the villains puts an end to that quickly.
  • Young and in Charge: Howard takes total, world-controlling power at age ten. He is underestimated at first. That does not last long.

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