Author: Greg Keyes

Publisher: Titan Books (May 27, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1783292253

ISBN-13: 978-1783292257

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm—The Official Movie Prequel is just that, a novel that bridges events between the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the forthcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Describing just how the novel sets the stage for Dawn is problematic, of course, as the second movie hasn't yet been released.

The original film series was set with the then contemporary backdrop of the Atomic Age when man's greatest self-inflicted wound was nuclear war. Now, humankind finds its veneer of civilization stripped away during the spread of a pandemic caused by a retrograde virus. It's the same virus, of course, Will Rodman created in the lab that resulted in the drug that accelerated the mental abilities of Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Firestorm is more complex than the normal tie-in novel, and that's likely due to the fact writer Greg Keyes isn't limited to a screenplay or script for his characters or structure, although screenwriters Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Scott Z. Burns, and Mark Bomback are credited for creating the basic ideas and many of the characters. In particular, not only is Caesar a central character in the book, but his companions Rocket, Cornelia, Maurice, and Korda return. Without tossing out too many spoilers, not all Keyes' own characters will appear in the film as the events occur in the movie a decade after what takes place in the novel. On one hand, we get the back-stories for some of the apes in Caesar's inner circle, notably Koba, whose account clearly is a reminder of the torment the apes endured in Rise. We see just how intelligent Caesar is as he contrives every way possible to lead his band of some 200 chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas into a California forest where all he wants is for his community to be left alone.

Man, of course, isn't going to allow that. In the immediate aftermath of the apes escaping across the Golden Gate Bridge, we see humane scientists and doctors who are amazed by the behavior of the apes and know there's something to be learned from them. There are a number of hunters, both governmental and unofficial, tracking down the apes with various agendas. Clearly, there's a major cover-up at work because a major corporation has something to hide. In San Francisco, there are politicians locking horns over matters apparently unrelated to apes. Jumping back and forth between these characters and duels and flashbacks as the retro virus spreads around the globe, Keyes weaves together many of the familiar elements that have been part of the "Planet of the Apes" mythology from the beginning, but now with a 21st Century context.

Few readers should pick up Firestorm and expect a stand-alone read, although it can be that. Instead, it should be experienced for what it's intended to be—a vital component of the new "Planet of the Apes" franchise. If you liked Rise and intend to see Dawn, now's the time to read the very fast-paced Firestorm. You'll be good to go for July when Dawn comes to a theatre near you. Because of the time lag between films, there's no reason we can't get even more "prequels" to Dawn. You can't keep good apes down.

Follow Here To Purchase Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm