Descent into Mayhem is set far into the future, on a distant planet called, I believe, Capicua. We initially meet some of the invading force on the planet, who are scouting out the surface for resources. The perspective then switches to a young, farm boy who has dreams of escaping his family and becoming a suit driver in the army. These enormous mechanised suits are one of the main ways in which war is waged in Goncalves' future world.
The young man goes through the typical basic training of any new recruit, which clearly hasn't changed much over the centuries, being subjected to physical, verbal and psychological abuse by the trainers in order to produce a fighting man or woman.
Before their training is complete however they are thrust into the heart of the battle against the invading army. There are a couple of little twists here, which I won't reveal, but did make me smile and also showed off the author's clever thinking.
I enjoyed the second half of the story much more than the first. The book ends, as they all seem to these days, with the sequel being set up.
I think this was Goncalves first novel and as such he has done an excellent job with it. I have no doubt if you enjoyed his futuristic world, you will be clamouring for the next book in the Capicua Chronicles.
An excellent read, well worth the four stars I gave it. If you like Science Fiction, but you still like human emotions and human frailties, then I would highly recommend you give this one a try. An excellent entry into the field Mr Goncalves!