Can an orphan hold the key to the location of a lost planet and a fortune in gems?
Eleven years ago, Jake Cutler was left in the care of the cyber-monks on the remote planet Remota. Living near the space port, Jake’s always dreamed of visiting the stars. When space pirates attack the monastery, Jake escapes and joins forces with Callidus Stone, a fortune hunter, who thinks Jake is from the legendary hidden planet of Altus, rumored to have moons made of precious gems. When the cargo ship they book passage on turns out to be a pirate vessel run by Granny Leatherhead, they broker a deal to split the spoils of Altus. However, the vicious Interstellar Navy is hot on their heels. Can they and their new friends escape, discover the truth of Jake’s past, and find the fabled planet? The future milieu that British author Powell imagines in this trilogy starter is interesting and has potential: corrupt military in the pockets of nefarious corporations, technology-worshipping monks, and pirates who pirate for good reason. It’s not for seasoned genre readers; the characters are stock, and the storyline feels like a retread. Big reveals are telegraphed far too early, but there are thrills and a few laughs.
Perhaps not totally “magnifty,” as Jake would say, but far from “garbish,” particularly for younger readers in need of a starter space opera. (Science fiction. 8-12)