Insurgents among the remaining Kerenza IV colonists must sabotage and delay BeiTech to stay alive long enough for survivors from Illuminae (2015) and Gemina (2016) to return and give them a fighting chance.
Rhys Lindstrom, a handsome blond techie space Marine-type, and Asha Grant, a pharmacy intern and Kady Grant’s light brown-skinned cousin, are on opposite sides—spelling trouble for this star-crossed couple. Rhys works for occupying BeiTech, while Asha’s in the resistance. Rhys has been working on the Magellan’s (nearly complete) repairs but is reassigned to the surface to maintain the crumbling colony’s infrastructure as BeiTech finishes replenishing their hermium supply so they can leave the system. Some of the (fatal) technical difficulties are the result of sabotage by colonist resisters who know that when BeiTech no longer needs them that they’re likely to be liquidated just as the “nonessential” colonists were. With Rhys horrified by the planetary situation and seeking to reconnect with his ex Asha, the resistance turns to him for a Hail Mary plan. Meanwhile, the consolidated Hypatia and Heimdall crews face tight resources, tense leadership struggles (including pushback from adults not wanting to take orders from teens), and impossible choices as they race to the colony for a long-shot rescue mission. Design as tightly controlled as the plot clarifies complicated situations and provides visceral emotional gut punches.
An adrenaline-pumping action story with timely themes and lasting resonance thanks to the focus on the characters’ humanity. (Science fiction. 13-adult)