Spheres of Influence

Ryk E Spoor, Author
Ryk E. Spoor. Baen, $15 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3937-7
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 11/05/2013
Mass Market Paperbound - 576 pages - 978-1-4767-3709-6
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The sequel to the space opera Grand Central Arena finds Ariane Austin, captain of the experimental starship Holy Grail, struggling to raise humanity’s status at the intergalactic nexus known as the Arena. Despite some previous success, Ariane and her crew remain targets for other low-status races looking to make points with the Arena’s overlords. While alliances offer opportunities to raise humanity’s profile, the Holy Grail’s crew must also make time to pursue Maria-Susanna, “the most dangerous psychopath in the entire solar system,” and a host of rogue AIs plotting to destroy the human race. The stars of this sequel are Ariane’s larger-than-life crew, especially irrepressible bodyguard Sun Wu Kung, modeled on the Monkey King of Chinese legend, and intrepid Dr. Marc DuQuesne, modeled on the larger-than-life heroes of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman and Skylark series. Staccato language flattens this old-school adventure, but fans of classic space opera will enjoy the familiar beats of aliens and intrigue. (Nov.)
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