A steadily paced and exhilarating espionage tale involving the threat of galactic war.


In this fifth installment of a sci-fi saga, a 47th-century intelligence agent spies on aliens who may have forged an alliance with a hostile race.

Sirius Kade of Earth Intelligence Services is enjoying his vacation with his girlfriend, Marie, notwithstanding an assassination attempt. The likely culprit behind that effort is Manning Thurlow Ransford III, who chairs a corporation funding the Separatist Movement. The group’s objective is to turn Earth’s colonies into “criminal fiefdoms.” Kade’s EIS controller, Lena Voss, calls him in for a mission, an unusual request from Tau Cetins, an “Observer civilization.” While they’re the nominal leaders overseeing a galactic treaty, they rarely intervene. Fearing a second war instigated by a race known as the Intruders, the Tau Cetins enlist Kade to keep an eye on the Xil, who may be in league with the aggressors. Kade, co-pilot Jase Logan, and engineer Izin Nilva Kren board the Silver Lining and trail a Xil envoy to the planet Valhalla. The trio helps a religious colony fend off attackers, including human Separatists, who are apparently getting chummy with Xils. Kade’s assignment takes him to other planets and star systems, where he encounters various civilizations and races and sets out to foil the Intruders’ secret, diabolical agenda. Though there are instances of blistering action, Renneberg’s (The Mothersea, 2016, etc.) novel is primarily a bracing espionage story. Someone tries both framing Kade for a crime and hacking the Silver Lining, while trust is scarce; even Marie, according to Lena, is a Separatist sympathizer. The futuristic backdrop is profuse: Humanity is in the midst of an interstellar civil war and a second probationary period to join the Galactic Forum. But readers will recognize the problems facing many of the arresting characters in the author’s densely plotted epic. Izin, for example, endures mistrust from others simply for being a tamph, amphibious “cousins” to the feared Intruders. Likewise, Renneberg aptly portrays strikingly different worlds: “Before me lay a vast, semi-arid savannah stretching to the horizon beneath a fierce white sun.”

A steadily paced and exhilarating espionage tale involving the threat of galactic war.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9941840-5-4

Page Count: 442

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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