Escaping Exodus, Books 1 & 2, by Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager, 2019 and 2021). Cover: Courtney ‘Seage’ Howlett, unknown
Nicky Drayden won the Compton Crook Award for her first novel The Prey of Gods. I was even more intrigued by Escaping Exodus, the opening volume in a far-future saga in which human society exists in the literal belly of a beast. In his enthusiastic review at Locus Online Tom Whitmore wrote “I don’t think I could have imagined such a book before reading this one. This is something I’ve been missing.”
For a series as vast in scope and ambition as this one, the arrival of a sequel is something to celebrate. Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis was published by Harper Voyager yesterday; here’s the description.
Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success.
The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly — a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before — and could cost him his reign and his heart.
He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske.
Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors.
Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis was published by Harper Voyager on February 23, 2021. It is 336 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback, $11.99 in digital formats, and $26.99 in audio versions. No idea who did the cover, but I like it. Read an excerpt here.
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