Interstellar travel is possible in the early 22nd century thanks to a much-desired element that one company controls and others will go to great lengths to take in this debut sci-fi adventure.
TV production assistant Mandisa “Mandi” Nkosi may have a story for her network, courtesy of an anonymous source. Someone’s contacted her with pertinent information about uranium (surrounding a terror plot). Mandi meets Anonymous, who tells of a possible conspiracy that includes the idea that the uranium didn’t originate on Earth but rather Eridani. That planet is where Applied Interstellar Corporation is establishing its headquarters. AIC first discovered hyperium on Saturn’s moon, Hyperion. The element is capable of opening wormholes for traversing star systems. CEO Jans Mikel’s moved AIC to Eridani to put distance between the company and Earth’s Euramerican Coalition government, which wants its shady hands on hyperium. In the last year, five of AIC’s ships have inexplicably vanished, but an emergency jump pod from the most recent vessel suggests a deliberate attack. Back on Earth, someone, it seems, tries to kill Mandi, likely wanting the data chip from her source. She’s saved by Grae Raymus of AIC Security and tags along on the return flight to Eridani, where trouble’s brewing. A sinister group may be targeting Helios, a moon richer in hyperium than Hyperion and which Jans has been keeping secret. Beyer opens his series with a punch, establishing his prospective universe while simultaneously delivering sci-fi action. A chase sequence on Earth and an explosive confrontation on Eridani are exhilarating, but dirty politicking of the future proves most engrossing, particularly Coalition Assemblyman/former Tech Standard Incorporated CEO Gregory Andrews. He’s clearly manipulating the Euramerican president like a puppet, while his suggestion of an ACI-TSI merger may be legitimate. Copious subplots are left unresolved, not the least of which is Mandi’s parents: a father who’s a mystery to her and mom Gisela, who abandoned her as a child but whom everyone, even Grae, apparently knows. There is, however, an unmistakable antagonist threatening Jans and AIC by the end, as well as a big reveal that demands a sequel.
Nefarious bigwigs, collusion, and galactic jumps against a cosmic backdrop; readers should definitely want to come back for more.