Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Trade paper, 356 p., $18.99
Starbase Human is the penultimate book in the Anniversary Day Saga. It’s going to start tying up some loose ends. It’s also going to throw you a few curves.
The loose ends are that the storyline returns to Marshall Judita Gomez and agent Iniko Zagrando. We’ve not encountered them since A Murder of Clones. They’ve been busy, and we get to see what they’ve been up to, which in Zagrando’s case is a lot of trying to stay alive.
The problem with reviewing this book is that it’s the seventh in a series of eight. I don’t want to commit spoilers, so that limits just how much detail I can pass along. So I’m going to describe how Rusch handles the story without actually talking about the story itself anymore than I actually have to.
First the character development. We see Judita Gomez deal with some really stressful situations. She has a small, hand-picked team of associates and a larger crew who are mostly in the dark about what she’s up to. And she goes into some dangerous places, such as a clone production facility.
The other character, Iniko Zagrando, has a bit more difficult time of it. In fact, it’s questionable if he will live to reach the Moon. He’s officially dead, and he’s hoping he doesn’t actually end up that way. His problem is there’s no one he can trust. He’s on the run, and he has no reliable source of information.
Judita still has her old crew. They end up lending a hand, and their discovery, well, let’s say I didn’t see that one coming.
Then there’s Luc Deshin. Boy does he end up in the middle of a huge mess. He ran a parallel investigation alongside Miles Flint earlier in the Saga. Now he’s following up on some of his leads, leads he doesn’t want Flint to know about. Deshin is a crime lord, after all. His problem is that he’s now got a family. And the complications from that are going to completely reshape his world.
The tension mounts throughout the book, but it doesn’t rise to the level of tension in Masterminds, the conclusion to the story arc. (Yes, I’ve already read it.) What’s interesting is how the characters try to deal with new information, or how they go about obtaining that information. Often they’re grasping in the dark or inadvertently creating complications for themselves.
Starbase Human is puts all the pieces in place for the big showdown/crisis in Masterminds. I highly recommend the Anniversary Day Saga. It’s one of the major events in science fiction this year. You’re going to need to read all the books in order if you want to follow everything. There are a number of details that you’re going have to keep track of. The Anniversary Day Saga isn’t so much a series of novels as it is a single story told in multiple volumes.
I’d like to thank WMG Publishing for sending me a review copy of Starbase Human.