Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, “The Scopuli,” they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to “The Scopuli” and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
I have to say that I do not exactly know how to classify this book. I am not sure that I would call it space opera. Sure the story takes place in space but this book never leaves the solar system. To me a space opera is on a somewhat grander scale. Science Fiction? Yes you would have to call it Science Fiction but apart from the Epstein drive and maybe a few other things most of the technology is almost within our reach today. I would say this book is a futuristic space thriller with some elements of detective story, some horror story and some space opera stuff. It is a great book though. I enjoyed it enormously.
The two main characters, Miller and Holden are quite well done although Holden’s naivety and idealistic self-righteousness can be frustrating at times. The story takes place against a very politically loaded backdrop with a lot of tensions between the three major players, Earth, Mars and The Belt. Normally that is the kind of material that I really do not like too much in my books. In this book however, the author have managed to keep it very present but still out of the way of the main story somehow. It is difficult to explain but the end result is that it really did not bother me in this book.
Following Holden and Miller unfold the story and the conspiracy was very enjoyable reading all the way. Towards the end the book accelerates into the area of true science fiction. The events that takes place in the last couple of chapters was surprising to say the least. I certainly did not see it coming. Even hinting at the nature of these events would spoil the book so if you want to know then you have to read the book. However, the end really makes me want to read the next one. Having said that, the book does not end in a traditional cliffhanger. There is a satisfactory conclusion to this book but also a huge open door into the next one.
I have to say that this is one of the more enjoyable books that I have read this year.