Review of Revenger – Alastair Reynolds

Posted: July 26, 2017 in Review, science fiction
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A superb science fiction adventure set in the rubble of a ruined universe, this is a deep space heist story of kidnap, betrayal, alien artifacts and revenge.

The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.

And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them.

Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded by layers of protection–and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.

Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.

Revenger is a science fiction adventure story set in the rubble of our solar system in the dark, distant future–a tale of space pirates, buried treasure, and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism and of vengeance..

Gollancz

Supplied by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

If piratepunk is a valid SF sub-genre, and I gather that it is, then Reynolds certainly puts a whole new spin on the concept in this rollicking far-future adventure. It has the feel and to some extent the language and social mores of the golden age of piracy, and yet is jolly hard SF at the same time. How so?

Reynolds gives us a beautifully crafted system of many worldlets…. The planets have apparently been dismantled and rebuilt into habitats over many millions of years, and it is now the 1799th recorded year of the 13th Occupation. Travel between the worlds is by sailing ships propelled by the solar wind. And there is treasure out there, strange and mysterious, trapped inside baubles, protected by force-fields that mysteriously open on their own schedule. Truly, Reynolds does a masterful job of world-building. Among the cleverest aspects is his use of language. The reader does not need to be told what “lungstuff” is, or what a “swallower” is, but those terms fit the genre so much better than “oxygen” or “singularity”.

The story begins when two teenage sisters run away to space in quest of fame and fortune, after discovering a mutual talent for an arcane form of communication called “bone-reading”. But when their ship is attacked and destroyed by the villainous pirate queen Bosa Sennen, Adrana is captured, while Fura escapes and begins plotting to somehow rescue her. Which will be no simple task…

This is a superb piece of writing, one of the most enjoyable and memorable novels I’ve read in a long time. And there’s a clever twist in the tail that may well change everything. And that means a sequel had better be in the offing, coves!

 

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