Shards of Earth and Eyes of the Void (Orbit, August 3, 2021, and November 22, 2022). Cover design by Steve Stone
Adrian Tchaikovsky is equally at home with ambitious epic fantasy (including his Echoes of the Fall trilogy, and the sprawling, 13-volume Apt series) and big-canvas science fiction (including Warhammer 40K and his Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Children of Time novels).
HIs latest is an ambitious space opera trilogy. It began with Shard of Earth, which BookPage labeled “one of the most stunning space operas I’ve read this year… glorious,” and Publishers Weekly called “dazzlingly suspenseful… a mix of lively fight scenes, friendly banter, and high-stakes intrigue.”
Next month the second installment Eyes of the Void drops, and the advance buzz for this one is just as rapturous. I usually avoid a series until at least three novels are in print, but I may have to make an exception for this one.
Here’s an excerpt from the Publishers Weekly coverage of Shard of Earth.
Tchaikovsky (Children of Time) launches his Final Architecture series with a dazzlingly suspenseful space opera. A colossal, sentient entity known as an Architect rips Earth apart into a flower shape. As the remnants of humanity flee to colonize other planets, Idris Telemmier is genetically manipulated into an Intermediary supersoldier, capable of reaching his mind out to the Architects. His encounter with the Architects causes them to realize humans are sentient, after which they abruptly vanish. Nearly a century later, Idris, who has not slept or aged since, joins the tight-knit crew of salvage ship Vulture God, craving anonymity among their ranks. After the crew comes across a derelict ship torn into a familiar flower shape, signaling the possibility that the Architects have returned, the discovery creates political opportunity for various factions… With a mix of lively fight scenes, friendly banter, and high-stakes intrigue, this is space opera at its best.
Russell Letson reviews Eyes of the Void at Locus Online, saying in part:
Shards of Earth opens 40 years after the apparent end of the Architect War, when the tramp salvage vessel Vulture God comes into possession of artifacts from the millions-of-years-vanished Originator civilization… In Eyes of the Void, the Architects have returned and now are attacking the once-immune worlds of the vastly powerful, enigmatic, and very, very strange Essiel Hegemony. The surviving members of the crew of the God, along with an intelligence agent from the Council of Human Interests (not quite an interstellar government), again find themselves engaged in multiple hunts for objects of interest… up against parties with extreme notions of doing business… And again much forward motion is provided by a familiar pattern of chases, escapes, violent encounters, feints, swindles, and space combat….
As much as this series is a descendant of planet-busting pulp-era extravaganzas, other genres also occupy its story space. Its world of spaceports and mining colonies and tramp starships is mean-streets gritty… Perhaps more important, thematically, is the notion that beneath our ordinary-dangerous reality is another universe so alien and terrifying and monster-haunted that it blasts merely-human (or AI) senses and perceptions. The ‘‘unspace’’ realm that is essential to interstellar travel is so hostile to any form of consciousness that even the machine-based Hivers shut down their processors before going under. It’s a motif imported from supernatural-horror/cosmic-dread tradition that goes back to Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson (The House of the Borderland), and even Algernon Blackwood (‘‘The Willows’’)…
The Final Architecture sequence belongs to what might be called a meta-genre, a narrative space that absorbs and integrates motifs and tropes and conventions from near and not-so-near neighbors. The inevitable comparison is with The Expanse: a similar combination of space operatics, down-and-dirty noir and intrigue elements, band-of-comrades adventure, gothic spookiness, alien weirdness, special-effects-go-boom sequences, and mysteries that could well remain mysterious when all is finally wrapped up.
Eyes of the Void will be published by Orbit on November 22, 2022. It is 656 pages, priced at $17.99 in trade paperback and $14.99 in digital formats.
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