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Future Treasures: Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds

Friday, January 4th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Revenger-Alastair-Reynolds-medium Shadow Captain Reynolds-small

Alastair Reynolds’ Revenger was one of the most acclaimed SF novels of 2016. It was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award, and won the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book. SFX called it “By far the most enjoyable book Reynolds has ever written,” and The Guardian labeled it “”A swashbuckling thriller — Pirates of the Caribbean meets Firefly.” In his enthusiastic review for Black Gate, Brandon Crilly said:

Reynolds’ work is always fast-paced and interesting, weaving the detailed science with just enough of the fantastic to add that sense of wonder and a perfect balance of action and character work. Revenger, for example, has the pacing of Firefly or Star Wars, so that even as he’s explaining the steampunkiness (is that a word?) of the starships and personal technology in the novel, you’re never mired in an info-dump or bored by too much scientific description, just to understand how everything works.

Revenger is particularly good because it’s a very human story: it focuses on two sisters who want to escape their homeworld and sign on with a starship crew not for pure escapism like Luke Skywalker, but specifically to earn money to help their father’s struggling business. What begins as a story of adventure and wild-eyed wonder as these sisters get to know their very first crew becomes a dark and harrowing tale almost immediately, as Reynolds takes his protagonists through multiple twists and unexpected locales.

The long-awaited sequel Shadow Captain will be published by Orbit on January 15, 2019. It is 448 pages, priced at $15.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats. Get more details and read the complete first chapter here.


  1. Cannot wait. Revenger was aimed almost laser-like directly at my interests. The only reason I won’t be reading it on release day is because Alliance Rising, C.J. Cherryh’s first new Union/Alliance novel in entirely too long, comes out a week earlier and will almost certainly be spurring a massive Union/Alliance reread for me in the early part of 2019.

    Comment by Joe H. - January 4, 2019 8:48 pm

  2. One of my co-workers gave REVENGER his highest recommendation, and that was what originally piqued my interest. Since then I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

    But I’m equally intrigued by your Union/Alliance reread… haw far back will you go??

    Comment by John ONeill - January 5, 2019 9:10 pm

  3. Well, I believe Alliance Rising is chronologically the earliest book in the series, so after that I’ll probably continue on to Heavy Time, Hellburner, Downbelow Station, Merchanter’s Luck, 40,000 in Gehenna, the Chanur books, and maybe Cyteen and Regenesis (which [Regenesis] I never did read when it first came out) at a minimum.

    One thing that bugs me a bit — there are a number of A/U books (most of the non-DAW titles — Tripoint, Rimrunners, Finity’s End) that still don’t have eBook editions.

    I did reread Downbelow Station a few years back when it was the monthly pick for the Sword & Laser Book Club; for the rest, it’s probably been 20+ years.

    Comment by Joe H. - January 6, 2019 9:35 am

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