Authority by Jeff VanderMeer (Southern Reach Trilogy 2)

Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages: 341
Year: 2014
Buy: Hardback, Kindle
Source: Review copy and bought copy

Authority by Jeff VanderMeerReview
Back in February this year, even before I started reading Annihilation, the first in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, there was already something about this trilogy that put it high in my favour – all three books are published in 2014. If I’m not able to read a trilogy all in one go (impatience usually puts a stop to that), the next best thing is to read them with as little time as possible in between each book. That way I stand a chance of remembering more of the world that I’m about to re-enter. I left reading Authority, the middle book, until as close to the publication of the conclusion, Acceptance, as possible. With that finale published tomorrow (2 September), it seems a good time to remind you of book 2. There are inevitable spoilers for Annihilation below – there could be no Authority without the previous novel’s incredible, chilling events.

Control is the new Director of Southern Reach, the facility set up to examine, explore and, ultimately, to explain the phenomenon of Area X, a coastal area that was transformed and mysteriously barricaded at least thirty years before our story begins. Over those thirty years numerous expeditions (officially twelve but that is by no means a reliable number) have embarked from Southern Reach into Area X by way of its one inexplicable gateway. So few ever returned. All Control has to work with are fragments of video, a plant, the fears and superstitions of his Southern Reach team and one survivor – the Biologist of Annihilation. This enigmatic and strange woman gets under Control’s skin completely, obsessing him and perhaps distracting him for a time from the strangeness growing around him.

While Annihilation followed the Biologist’s expedition into the alarming wonder of Area X, Authority focuses entirely on Control during these first days of his directorship of Southern Reach. It is soon clear that he will have as much to do understanding his new colleagues as he will the mysteries of Area X itself. The Assistant Director, Grace, is hostile from the outset, mistrusting the man who moves into the office of his predecessor, a woman we soon learn was the Psychologist, the leader of the latest expedition, now vanished and a woman to whom Grace was devoted. But Grace’s animosity is almost nothing compared to the other strangeness that Control encounters within the offices, labs and rooms of Southern Reach, a strangeness that is exacerbated by the team’s theories about the force that created Area X as well as the video clips from past failed missions – and paranoia. And then, of course, there is the writing on the walls.

Although most of the events of Authority take place within Southern Reach and Area X is only remembered, the novel is no less creepy and chilling than its predecessor, Annihilation, which was entirely set in Area X. The tone, mood and imagery are extremely similar – there are familiar smells, there is an earthy botanic feel to the place, there is the same overpowering sense of claustrophobia. Everything is weird and almost designed to test Control’s sanity and, as the novel continues, the story becomes as much about Control’s past as it does about the mystery of Area X.

Much of Authority moves along at a leisurely pace, allowing the horror and madness of it all to accumulate slowly and powerfully. The dread builds. The atmosphere becomes increasingly intense and assaults all of Control’s senses. The final third of the novel changes everything completely – suddenly it all builds to a thrilling, surreal climax as Control is driven to action. There are answers to some of Annihilation‘s many questions (or, rather, there are suggestions of possible answers), such as why few people use their real names, and there are more clues to the past of Area X as well as the extent and purpose of its power (the rabbit story is absurd but harrowing). Authority is different from Annihilation, which remains my favourite of the two, but it complements it well. More than anything else Authority prepares us for the conclusion of Acceptance, not least with its cliffhanger ending.

Thanks to the extraordinary power and beauty of Jeff VanderMeer’s writing, I have been immersed in these volatile, living, breathing, nightmare worlds where Southern Reach is no more safe than the environment it seeks to explain. I cannot wait for Acceptance. I have to know.

Other review
Annihilation

Lock In by John Scalzi

Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 336
Year: 2014
Buy: Paperback, Kindle
Source: Bought copy

Lock in by John ScalziReview
Haden’s Syndrome is a super flu, a new Spanish Flu in its virulence, that struck much of the world’s population, leaving millions dead and the rest relieved to recover. That was before stage two hit. This second attack gave a proportion of the survivors a form of meningitis that left some dead and others mentally different. A smaller number, 1% of the population, is left in a waking coma, unable to move and communicate and yet aware – the condition is named Lock In while the disease itself is called Haden’s Syndrome after Lock In’s most famous victim, the First Lady.

A generation after the outbreak, society has been transformed by the legacy of Haden’s Syndrome. The Locked In, or Haden, have been given new life, thanks to quickly developed futuristic technology which allows sufferers to move their consciousness into fully mobile and interactive robots called Threeps (named in honour of C3PO – a pleasant touch). Hadens can also transfer themselves into an online digital society called Agora in which each can have his or her own haven. But this enormous dedication of resources as well as legislation supporting the equality of Hadens, has finally run into a brick wall and, as the novel begins, a new law is about to come into effect which would drastically impact the lives of ordinary Haden, of whom there are more and more each year as the disease continues to find new victims.

Not all of those stricken with the Haden meningitis are Locked In. A few, barely a few thousand per country, have had their minds altered in such a way that they have the potential to become Integrators – they can actually carry, for a fee, the consciousness of the Locked In, pushing their own personalities into the shadows of their minds. All well and good as long as the Haden plays by the rules and doesn’t use his or her borrowed body for anything more harmful than a Supersized fast food feast.

Set in the near and recognisable future, Lock In is a complex, clever and thoroughly entertaining novel that is both murder mystery and science fiction. Our hero and mouthpiece, Shane, is am interesting character. He’s both a Haden in a Threep and an FBI agent, brand new on the job (in fact it’s his first week), whose team investigates crimes involving Haden. Shane, with a famous sportsman and now potential politician for a father, has grown up as the the poster boy for Haden, His famous (metal) face supported by a millionaire’s wallet. Despite this background, Shane manages to be both immensely likeable and capable, as indeed is his father. Being perceived as not quite human is something that Shane has to deal with every day, while his human body lies in a cradle in his parents’ home, cared for day and night, his thoughts and pains and dreams alive in this superhuman robotic body.

Shane is matched by his partner Agent Vann who is herself quite a character as well as being, we soon learn, an ex-Integrator with a taste for wine, clubs and men. The job, though, is all important and Shane, with Vann, is instantly thrown into the deep end by the discovery of a dead Integrator, his throat sliced. This is just the beginning.

The worldbuilding is great in Lock In. The Threeps intriguingly exist both within and outside society and they can test the patience of flesh and blood people (a forgotten Threep coming to life in the corner of the room without warning, for instance). Descriptions of the homelife of a Threep are alien and unforgettable – the unwealthy Threep might live in an apartment no bigger than a below stairs cupboard. But all the time, it’s hard to forget the Locked In people themselves who lie in their beds, utterly vulnerable. The worldbuilding is more than matched by the intricately clever plot. The metallic Haden, the almost engineered Integrators and the polished social and business circles through which the novel moves fit so well with the almost clinical conspiracy and its investigation that starts to fill the pages and obsess Shane and Vann.

All the time, the commentary comes from Shane. We see this world through Locked In eyes and it’s all the more powerful and effective and human for it.

John Scalzi has written a novella, Unlocked, which predates the events of the novel and brings to life the outbreak and course of the disease through extracts from the reports of some key individuals involved in its identification and treatment as well as its victims. I highly recommend that you read this first. It most definitely helps to illuminate the background to this fine novel.

The Samurai Inheritance by James Douglas

Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 474
Year: 2014 (28 August)
Buy: Paperback, Kindle
Source: Review copy

The Samurai Inheritance by James DouglasReview
In 1943, when Admiral Yamamoto’s plane crashes into the jungles of Bougainville, an island near Papua New Guinea, his secrets, contained in a briefcase clasped to his chest alongside his samurai sword, are lost. A tribesman, who witnesses a Japanese rescuer bow down in respect to the fallen soldier, removes the briefcase, recognising it as the valuable treasure of a revered king. Many years later, that briefcase stands between one man and his ambitious plans to transform the island into one of the largest mining centres of the world. Jamie Saintclair, art historian and adventurer (not always by choice), is hired by Australian industrialist with a conscience, Keith Devlin, to find the object that Bougainville’s chief demands in return for the briefcase and for talks – the shrunken head of his ancestor.

Finding shrunken heads is an unusual task even for Jamie, especially one that was donated to a Berlin museum in the late 19th century and could have ended up anywhere during the war years. Never one to resist a curious challenge, Jamie sets off on his hunt which takes him from Australia to Germany and other countries which dominated the war and Cold War years. Along the way, Jamie is joined in his quest by Magda Ross, a British anthropologist working in Berlin, who cannot resist the pull of the search, only too willing to leave her desk behind. Neither Jamie or Magda could have had any idea of the trouble ahead. Who would have thought that a lost shrunken head could stir up so much danger?

The Samurai Inheritance is the fourth in James Douglas’s Jamie Saintclair thrillers and it follows a well-developed and satisfying path – as usual with the thrillers the shadow of the Second World War hangs over events, perhaps not surprisingly considering that Jamie’s mission is to restore artworks stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners. In this novel, Jamie is learning to love again, dallying with the idea of forming a family with Fiona and her daughter. This does complicate matters considerably, not least because of the obvious attractions of Magda, his unexpected companion. Having a family in this line of work also makes Jamie very vulnerable indeed.

Jamie Saintclair is a difficult man not to like and it is a pleasure to spend time with him through these novels. He’s more than capable but he’s no superhero and he’s reluctant to kill, increasing his appeal. The fact that he’s an art historian is an added bonus. It means that the novels combine mystery, action, history and art. That’s a winning combination in my eyes.

There is no doubt that this is a slightly more unusual story than the others in the series. A shrunken head is no oil painting and it is harder for this reader at least to get as caught up in its rescue but, as is clear from the few but fascinating chapters set during World War II, the shrunken head may also be a bit of a red herring.

The baddies are rather intriguing in The Samurai Inheritance – they are not quite what they seem and some of them may not be baddies at all. Devlin is arguably the least interesting character of the book but he is more than compensated for by his chief of security, Doug, and some of the shady characters who make their presence known as Jamie and Magda undergo their gruelling journey. There is also one truly terrifying enemy in particular to overcome.

While The Samurai Inheritance isn’t my favourite of the series – it has extremely stiff competition – an intelligent, well-written and thoroughly researched thriller is always something to celebrate and I enjoyed the novel very much indeed. Jamie Saintclair is a fine creation as well as being good company and I look forward enormously to his next adventure!

Other reviews
The Doomsday Testament
The Isis Covenant
The Excalibur Codex

Savage Magic by Lloyd Shepherd

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 432
Year: 2014 (28 August)
Buy: Hardback, Kindle
Source: Review copy

Savage Magic by Lloyd ShepherdReview
It is 1814 and London is stricken with madness. Covent Garden by day is a bright place for shopping, promenading and theatre but at night its streets are turned over to the dark trade of prostitution, transforming the Garden into an asylum without roof or walls. Behind closed doors, in their decadently decorated chambers, rich men are murdered, cluelessly, with the utmost savagery, while another society man’s country house is besieged by witchcraft, its servants frightened, its womenfolk ill and troubled. But the mind of Constable Charles Horton, tasked with solving these inexplicable mysteries, is focused elsewhere. Horton’s wife Abigail has committed herself to a madhouse in a desperate attempt to escape the apparition of a native princess who pursues her through the streets of London.

Abigail is not the only wife to have separated herself from her husband. Magistrate Aaron Graham’s wife has removed herself from their marriage and has taken her daughter to live with her presumed lover in Thorpe Lee House, a state of affairs that has upset the house and is now worsened by the rumours of hauntings, inexplicable events and night-time noises. Graham despatches Horton to investigate while he himself, until Horton’s return, has to deal with the London murders, the victims each wearing a satyr’s mask. Meanwhile, Abigail becomes fascinated by the straitjacketed girl in the asylum cell next to her own. She can hear her conversations at night although her door is always locked. And all the time, through the night hours, the men in the asylum howl and cry.

Savage Magic is a self-contained novel, rich and fertile, but it continues the themes of The English Monster and The Poisoned Island and shares the dark and disturbed and, often, exotic atmosphere of those two excellent novels. In these Georgian years, the British Empire is reaching its most glorious years but that glory is underpinned, fed, by slavery and exploitation. Heavy ships import more than wealth from distant climates, the holds emptied of human merchandise are filled with more than luxurious goods and spices. Savage Magic shows us that this degradation of humanity also took place on the empire’s capital’s streets – the trade of women as prostitutes.

The themes of Savage Magic are dark and the atmosphere is at times intoxicating as the narrative moves fluidly across London’s streets and out into the countryside, following the spread of evil from the nation’s heart. Evil here is fed by the supernatural and not even science is safe. Abigail’s experiences in the asylum arguably form the heart of the novel as she deals with her own demons while also coping with the ministrations of her doctor, whose journal entries, written some time after the events, comprise sections of the book.

Each of Lloyd Shepherd’s novels is clever but I particularly enjoyed the structure and movement of Savage Magic. While Horton and Graham are frequently caught in circles of confusion, the different strands of the story, moving through time, bringing in other mysterious tales and memories, gently work themselves together. The result is a powerful and shocking conclusion.

Reading Savage Magic, and Lloyd Shepherd’s other novels, is an engrossing experience. I can’t think of another writer who can immerse the reader so fully in atmosphere, mixing horror so well with historical fiction. While this can be dark and frightening, often disturbing, it is immensely rewarding and encourages the reader to re-examine history with fresh and open eyes.

Other reviews
The English Monster
The Poisoned Island

Also reviewed at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Kingdom of Darkness by Andy McDermott

Publisher: Headline
Pages: 528
Year: 2014 (28 August)
Buy: Hardback, Kindle
Source: Review copy

Kingdom of Darkness by Andy McDermottReview
Dr Nina Wilde, famous archaeologist, and her husband, proud Yorkshireman and ex-SAS soldier Eddie Chase, are back! The couple are enjoying a once in a lifetime round the world trip, Nina having resigned her position as Director of the UN’s International Heritage Agency. But when they reach Los Angeles, meeting up with old friends Macy and her movie star boyfriend, Nina is approached by a young man with a German accent who pleads for her help, handing over a plan he should not have of the tomb of Alexander the Great (previously discovered by Nina). Somewhere in the tomb lies a statue which contains the secret of an ancient Spring of Immortality. But before he can say more the young man is gunned down and the chase is on, Nina and Eddie pursued across the city in a hunt that will take them across the world and back again.

The adventure – and the plot – is a corker. It is so easy to suspend your disbelief with these thrillers largely because Nina and Eddie are such real creations, especially now that we reach the tenth novel of their adventures. Neither Nina or Eddie are perfect – Eddie is no oil painting but the charm of the man, not to mention his courage, warmth and absolutely appalling sense of humour, make him one of the most appealing heroes of any series that I’ve read. His puns might be horrendous (and his taste in women might have gone a bit awry in the past) but happily married to lovely, strong and clever Nina (who likes a glass of wine and can laugh at some of Eddie’s jokes), he has come into his own. They bicker and argue but there is no doubt that Eddie would, and does, follow Nina anywhere she wants as she obeys the pull of her archaeological passion. This is fortunate because nine times out of ten Nina will be in need of a good bodyguard.

The baddies in Kingdom of Darkness are especially nasty – Nazis. The evil that they once wrought could come alive again if Nina, Eddie, and the delightful Macy, don’t manage to reach the target first. The origin of the mystery lies with Alexander the Great, which gives the novel plenty of scope to play around with the myth of the king. Eddie is never one to be afraid of voicing his opinions and there are some intriguing ideas here about Alexander and power. The fact that Eddie has to work with Mossad, the Israeli military secret service, for much of the novel also adds to the tension and Eddie’s unease.

A fair amount of the novel comprises non-stop, relentless extreme action. Most forms of transport known or imagined by man are involved at one point or another. The result is that the pages fly through the fingers so fast it is blistering. But it’s not all action and mayhem, there are other scenes here of such tragedy and heartbreak that they didn’t just make me weep, they made me weep on the bus!

The Wilde/Chase thrillers by Andy McDermott are fabulous novels, feeding my impatience as soon as I hear that a new one is on the way. Fortunately, Kingdom of Darkness follows swiftly on the heels of the superb The Valhalla Prophecy. This is just as well because everything that happens in Kingdom of Darkness is coloured by the events of the previous novel, not so much for the plot’s action but for Nina and Eddie. Having said all that, Kingdom of Darkness would work very well as a standalone novel. Everything that the reader needs to know is revealed very early on and in a way that I think would be very effective. If you have read all the novels in turn then this revelation still manages to shock.

As this series has progressed, the thrillers have become increasingly accomplished, confident and rounded. The characters of Nina and Eddie are so well developed they appear almost to have a life of their own and their story has become arguably the most important aspect of the books. The plots are always exciting, pacey and gobsmacking but now they have become that little bit less fanciful (though still pleasingly imaginative and extraordinary). The runaway train action is matched by heart, with many laugh out loud lines as well as other scenes of devastating sadness or cruelty. What a fantastic series!

Other reviews (I’ve been reading the Nina and Eddie novels for years, many in my pre-blogging days, but here are review of the more recent:)
Temple of the Gods
The Valhalla Prophecy

Adam Gray series
The Shadow Protocol (or The Persona Protocol)

Enemy of Rome by Douglas Jackson

Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 396
Year: 2014 (28 August)
Buy: Hardback, Kindle
Source: Review copy

Enemy of Rome by Douglas JacksonReview
It is AD 69 and civil war is threatening to tear the foundations of Rome apart. In this Year of the Four Emperors, nowhere is safe as faction upon faction puts its legions into the field. Gaius Valerius Verrens is in a particularly tight spot – friend to one emperor (Vitellius) but fighting for another (Otho), Valerius has reached the end, bare foot, awaiting a traitor’s death on the bitterly contested soil of Pannonia.

But Valerius is a man with powerful friends and it is one of them, Titus, who saves him, putting him to work to support the campaign of his father Vespasian, a general watched closely by destiny. Valerius’s orders are to join commander Marcus Antonius Primus and eradicate Vitellius’s forces which stand between Vespasian and Rome. It’s unfortunate to say the least that Primus would much rather enjoy the sight of Valerius’s corpse than the thought of having the man among his staff. Valerius is driven, though, not just by his reprieve but also by the thought of Domitia, daughter of the great general Corbulo, and now living under the protection of Vespasian’s brother Sabinus in Rome, not to mention the beady lecherous eye of the other son, Domitianus.

Enemy of Rome grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck instantly. The tension of the opening chapter is a force to be reckoned with and it is barely relieved through the course of the entire novel. The strength of this novel, and the others in the series, lies in the character of Valerius. Hero of Rome, his right hand lost in Britannia during the Boudiccan Revolt, his courage and honour is admired by all, even by those who want to kill him. But Valerius has no doubt of his mortality, unlike many he serves, and he is always conscious that in a civil war the enemy might be one’s brother or friend. If a town is sacked during civil war, this is an outrage against one’s own fellow citizens. Valerius never forgets the cost of war – he can see it everyday in his wooden fist – and he never loses sight of what matters the most. Valerius is a good man, vulnerable despite his strengths, who has been made a killer and this self-awareness shadowed by doubt is one of the many reasons why our hero stands out so tall and fascinating.

The novel is divided in two with much of the book dealing with war and all its complications and blood. Valerius and his servant (although he’s far more friend than servant), Serpentius, are frequently to be found in the midst of battle or leading small numbers in lethal raids. The battle and skirmish scenes are second to none – vividly presented in terrifying detail with, poignantly, several personal stories brought to a close under a blade’s edge or a horse’s hooves. Finally, though, the war must reach the streets of Rome itself and the result is a conclusion that cannot be put down unfinished.

Quite apart from Valerius and Serpentius, there are other portraits that stand out in Enemy of Rome, especially, for me, Vitellius, the obese hungry emperor who loves his wife and his son, is wrapped in finery and false praise but wishes he were the man he used to be and not what he has become. One can see why Valerius liked him so much and why he had to oppose him. More, too, is revealed in Serpentius in this novel and it is clear that he is becoming a changed man. Vespasian lives in the wings of Enemy of Rome. I can’t wait to see what Douglas Jackson does with him.

Douglas Jackson is a fine writer whose recreation of past lives and places is enriched with a thorough historical and military knowledge and impressive insight. He knows all about pace and action but he is also one of those authors who makes the reader feel that they are witnessing history – and what a period of history this is to be brought alive.

Enemy of Rome is the fifth novel in the Gaius Valerius Verrens series. It could stand alone if asked but why deny yourself the pleasure of starting this series from the very beginning? That would be Hero of Rome which contains scenes that remain my favorite of all Roman historical fiction.

Other reviews
Caligula
Claudius
Defender of Rome
Avenger of Rome
Sword of Rome

Thrillers writing as James Douglas
The Doomsday Testament
The Isis Covenant
The Excalibur Codex
A review of The Samurai Inheritance (also out on 28 August) to follow shortly

An interview

Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds

Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 695
Year: 2003
Buy: Paperback, Kindle
Source: Bought copy

Absolution Gap by Alastair ReynoldsReview
Absolution Gap completes the Revelation Space sequence. Therefore, tread no further unless you want to hear more of the horrors that faced our protagonists in Revelation Space and Redemption Ark.

A generation after the events of Redemption Ark, ship Nostalgia for Infinity still rests in the curious, conscious seas of Ararat, many years’ distant from Yellowstone where the Inhibitors continue to destroy human life. Clavain has absented himself from the marooned colony while Scorpio, a hyperpig, acts as its ruler. Both are brought together by the news that a capsule has landed on the planet. On opening it they find memories of the past mixed with the first signs of hope, suggesting there may be a way after all to defeat the hungry black machine monster Inhibitors. The discovery demands they make a journey but before they can leave Ararat a great sacrifice is required. They must also wake up John Brannigan, the transformed captain of Nostalgia who is now much more ship than man, a presence that haunts the remote decks of this enormous vessel, frightening the crew who work to keep parts of Nostalgia still functioning as a spacefaring ship.

In another timeframe, Absolution Gap takes us to distant Hela, a world that orbits a gas giant that is able to do the unbelievable – it is able to disappear from sight, just for an instant. But this is enough to have attracted pilgrims and religious fanatics, people who travel on great caravans between mighty cathedrals that move below the orbit of the gas giant, always keeping it in sight, never even blinking for fear of missing one of its vanishings. Young girl Rashmika Els has run away from home, driven by something she can’t quite understand to reach the principal cathedral, the home of the prophet Quaiche. We are in the fortunate position of knowing a little more about Quaiche than his disciples do, including the fact that he is haunted by shadows, driving him to cross the Absolution Gap.

Absolution Gap moves between times and places, combining the continuing stories of familiar protagonists with the emerging and influential lives of new characters. There is a different feel to this novel than to the preceding ones – Absolution Gap is mostly planet bound, although it still contains scenes aboard Nostalgia, one of the most extraordinary and memorable of all science fiction space ships. We see less of the Inhibitors, although what we do see is terrifying, especially now that we know what they can do. The horrifying glimpse we are given of Yellowstone’s remains leaves us in no doubt of what these machines intend for all mankind. But in Absolution Gap, something is shown of the wider picture, of the other ancient life forms that may be out there. Mankind is possibly the least significant of the lot.

Much of the novel takes place on the mysterious and unforgivable world of Hela. Rashmika is a new principal character to the series and it is a joy to get to know her with all her strange ways, not least her power to always know when someone is lying, an invaluable gift on this world where everything has a price to be bartered. The cathedrals and caravans are vividly imagined. Religion has become grotesque on Hela, personified in the almost pitiable figure of Quaiche and his terrifying blood collecting surgeon.

For me, the outstanding characters are Scorpio and Brannigan. Scorpio knows all too well that he is not human, with all the prejudice that this entails, and his character continues to grow throughout Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap. At times he is more human than anyone else but there’s no doubt that he suffers more as a result. As for Brannigan, by contrast, there is very little of the human left in him. During the series we have watched the captain progressively become as one with his ship, the victim of a melding disease that has afflicted much of human colonised space, holding back its progress. Brannigan is a ghost in the works, living in his own timeframe, at his own pace, on his own terms.

We are reminded of the past constantly. There are encounters with names from previous novels, including, I’m delighted to say, the loathsome Skade. But Absolution Gap also hints at a future, giving us clues to the role of the Inhibitors and mankind in a Galaxy that is even more mysterious and dangerous than could have been guessed at in Redemption Ark. Just as the Inhibitors always feared, when mankind began to explore space it opened doors that could never be shut again.

Absolution Gap is an outstanding novel, certainly my favourite of this terrific series. It is immensely rewarding, thrilling and moving, quite often tragic and even humorous in unusual ways. It is always thought-provoking and visually abundant. Above all else, it is a wonderful well-told story by an author whose imagination is irresistible.

Other reviews
Revelation Space
Redemption Ark
Pushing Ice
Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidon’s Children 1)
On the Steel Breeze (Poseidon’s Children 2)