Synopses & Reviews
In a distant future where the Chinese have seized control of the world and colonised the stars, a disgraced naval captain and a commando who knows secrets he should never have learned are picked to lead a suicide mission. Piloting a salvaged Mexica spacecraft to Xolotl, the asteroid stronghold of their enemies, they are armed with enough explosives to reduce the Mexica base to dust. But when they arrive to find dozens of Chinese prisoners destined to be used as human sacrifices, their suicide mission suddenly becomes a rescue operation. This is a clash of empires old and new.
"Roberson's latest (after Set the Seas on Fire) takes a standard Dirty Dozen plot that contrasts awkwardly with its ornate Chinese vs. Aztec interplanetary milieu. Two of the Dragon Empire's dissident officers, space captain Zhuan Jie and troop commander (or 'bannerman') Yao Guanzhong, are tapped to infiltrate and destroy an enemy asteroid base. But before they can blow up the rock, they must first master their squadron of outcasts and improvise the rescue of dozens of prisoners marked for blood sacrifice. Cogently choreographed action and vividly drawn opposing cultures are intriguing (for instance, Mexica spacecraft are hardwired to work only when primed with human blood) but Roberson's subtly distant tone, heavy-handed foreshadowing and narrow focus leave readers struggling to properly grasp the larger conflict. Tight, fully resolved character arcs leave few direct openings for the epic series the book supposedly begins. There's potential here, but little polish and less context." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Chris Roberson's novels include SET THE SEAS ON FIRE (Solaris, 2007), HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE (Pyr, 2005), THE VOYAGE OF NIGHT SHINING WHITE (PS Publishing, 2006), and PARAGAEA: A PLANETARY ROMANCE (Pyr, 2006), and he is the editor of the anthology ADVENTURE VOL. 1 (MonkeyBrain Books, Nov 2005). Roberson has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, twice for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and twice for the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Short Form (winning in 2004 with his story "O One." He runs the independant press MonkeyBrain books with his partner.