Strong female leads, terrific action and complications aplenty: should grab existing fans and win new converts.


Another entry in Moon’s family saga about the powerful space-trader Vatta family (Marque and Reprisal, 2004, etc.).

Previously, space pirates disabled the ansibles (instantaneous communicators) in many systems, thus rendering interstellar commerce all but impossible. Worse, they attacked Vatta HQ on the planet Slotter Key, killing most of the family. Young ship’s captain Kylara quickly retaliates with her tiny force of three ships; soon joining her will be three flamboyant, undisciplined commanders in small, lightly armed but fast ships that Kylara can use as scouts. Another Vatta survivor, Stella, becomes CEO, while a third, tough, cunning old Grace, becomes an authority in the government. The pirates also targeted ISC, owner of the disabled ansibles (its monopoly kept it rich and influential). When the Dunbarger family’s black sheep, secret agent Rafe, returns to ISC’s HQ on Planet Nexus, he learns that his parents and sister have been kidnapped by Lewis Parmina. Once ISC’s second in command, Parmina evidently is in cahoots with the pirates, so Rafe must try to arrange for his family’s rescue while scheming to regain control of ISC. Kylara, meanwhile, needs munitions and must risk her tiny fleet to get them, following which she will run into old friends from the mercenary Mackensee Corporation, and lend a timely assist when Mackensee ships are threatened by the pirates. The pirates, however, have a huge advantage: They have shipboard ansibles. But then, so does Kylara.

Strong female leads, terrific action and complications aplenty: should grab existing fans and win new converts.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2007

ISBN: 0-345-49159-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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