A down-and-dirty caper set in a dangerous and enigmatic world.
Svinga doesn’t trust anybody. Years in prison have taught her to guard herself carefully. So when the commander of Site QR-715 has her hauled out of Guantánamo, Svinga has no illusions—Kopelund wants the Cormorant, and he doesn’t much care who dies getting it. But Svinga is a rifter. She’s got instincts that normal people don’t have. Most people can’t handle the mysterious, almost carnivorous landscapes created in the cataclysmic, still-unexplained Event. But rifters have a kind of sixth sense for them. And those instincts will help Svinga navigate a tricky situation—a dangerous mission into an unpredictable landscape with a team that’s mostly dead weight except for the one who wants her dead. The goal: the legendary Cormorant, a kind of rifter Holy Grail. The obstacles in the way: anything the Rift can throw at them. The makings of a good, gritty adventure are all here, but the story gets bogged down in exposition early on. Saintcrow (The Marked, 2016, etc.) spends a lot of time introducing a cast of characters who remain an almost-indistinguishable blur of grim grittiness. The pace picks up when the team enters the Rift, but given how uniformly unpleasant most of the characters are, the body count lacks the impact it might have had.
A slow start and lack of compelling characters hold this back from becoming the gripping adventure it wants to be.