Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynolds, former scientist and now full-time writer. Most of what he writes is science fiction, with a strong concern for scientific verisimilitude (although he is prepared to break the rules for the sake of a good story). He has lived in England, Scotland and the Netherlands where he worked as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency until 2004, but now makes his home back in his native Wales.
A superb science fiction adventure set in the rubble of a ruined universe, this is a deep space heist story of kidnap, betrayal, alien artefacts and revenge.

The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilisations, 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...
Boy, what a thrill that one was! I have never been much of a sci-fi enthusiast, that's my boyfriend more likely, I am more or a fantasy gal, but that did not rob me of the joy of reading this novel. 
This is my first Alastair Reynolds but apparently fast-paced adventure is his speciality! It is a hell of ride this one, no doubt about it. Mr Reynolds you are a very skilled writer, master of the pen: I was completely lost in the story from the first page and I was always on the look for more stories to pop form around the corner. A magician!
The setting of Revenger is fascinating, and rather than telling us all about it up front, Reynolds does a good job of revealing small details that can ultimately be assembled into a compelling jigsaw. Over the course of the novel he also teases the reader with some tantalising clues as to where the story of future books might be headed.
Comparisons to Mieville's Railsea, and the Shipbreaker series by Paolo Bacigalupi are totally inevitable and fair. Like them, Revenger is an adventure story packed into a science fiction world. I loved every page as this really is my genre of choice.
Revenger is an action-packed, swashbucking adventure with dashes, perhaps, of steam or even cyber-punk which at the same time, tells a solid space opera story - literally: everything that happens, happens in space: even the 'worlds' are not planets but engineered habitations no more than a few leagues in length or breadth. These worlds, numbering in the millions (there are whole books that catalogue them) surround the Old Sun, forming the 'Constellation'. If there were planets they have been reworked, mined away, over millions of years, during which time umpteen civilisations have flourished and decayed. It's a bold and exciting setting, giving a convincing depth of history (there are allusions to wars, alien incursions, the return of generation ships from the deep) and also scope for the sort of ship-borne antics you might otherwise get in Stevenson or Ballantyne - but IN SPACE!5FOXGIVEN