The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.
I attended a discussion with the author on this book and one of the main takeaways from the discussion was that Adrian Tchaikovsky stated that he wanted to write a ‘true’ space opera with this book. Boy did he manage it.
You are introduced to a world where earth has already been destroyed by a mind boggling alien entity known at an architect. Humanity is not gone, there are many colonies across a vast array of worlds but earth was destroyed and turned into a horrific piece of art.
The reality that you are introduced to has a wide variety of different species including, as you would expect from Tchaikovsky a species which closely resembles some sort of large insect. Some you are introduced to closely (part of the crew) some that you only meet in passing but all are touched by this terrifying and inevitable architect and all come together to fight them.
The architects were stopped dead 45 years before the beginning of the novel with the opening part of the book leading you to believe that the action was all behind – and its leads to an interesting exploration of how quickly is it before humanity will let their guard down again and how quickly things can again disappear into chaos if a similar threat looms again.
There were some classic sci-fi tropes within this book one of my favourites was unspace which is how they travel vast distances through the depths of space. I loved how creepy this was, the whole idea of of it was unsettling and brilliant.
As with any good sci-fi opera there is political maneuvering between factions who are trying to survive within this back drop. There is also companionship, the story follows a crew who have come together for a variety of different reasons and who are thrown into a mystery regarding a ship that bears the classic signs of having been ‘reformed’ by an architect. They follow this journey trying to find out if the architects are back and if so what this would mean.
I will warn you that Adrian Tchaikovsky does not hold back – people are lost, at some points it seems like nobody is safe so be careful before giving your heart to a character!
All in all its a great opener to a new series and I cannot wait to see what the next book brings.
I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for a review by Tor UK & Black Crow PR
I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 biscuits.