Last of Bova’s trilogy (The Rock Rats, 2002, etc.) about the struggle for control of the asteroid belt, embedded within a series (Venus, 2000, etc.) that dramatizes humanity’s expansion through the solar system.
White-hat Pancho Lane's Astro Corporation and bad-hat Martin Humphries of Humphries Space Systems are locked in a death-struggle for control of the asteroid belt and its vast, cheap-to-obtain resources. Pancho wants to help Earth recover from environmental and economic collapse; Humphries just wants control. Pirate Lars Fuchs, having lost his beautiful wife Amanda to Humphries in exchange for his life, is no more than a minor irritant—until Amanda dies giving birth to a child Humphries thinks is his, but in fact Lars is the father. Lars doesn’t know this either, however, and considers that he has nothing left to live for but to kill Humphries. The ambitious Yamagata Corporation, meanwhile, has everything to gain by secretly setting Astro and HSS at each other’s throats. As the conflict escalates, with Astro getting much the worst of it, Humphries’ drug-crazed assassin, Dorik Harbin, tries to track down and eliminate Lars; advanced nanotech machines disassemble and process asteroids in hours, leaving prices for refined products about to plummet; and Douglas Stavenger will do whatever it takes to prevent the conflict engulfing his moon-city, Selene.
Another adventurous escapade, even if (since, chronologically, this entry falls somewhere in the middle of the series) we know who doesn’t get killed. Still, veteran pro Bova knows his space-rivets from his astro-bolts, and nobody will be disappointed.