cover image The Liberation

The Liberation

Ian Tregillis. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-316-24805-1

Tregellis concludes his Alchemy Wars trilogy in fine style, resolving the tensions in his alternate historical setting, in which a Dutch empire is powered by enslaved golems called Clakkers, with a series of conflicts (both political and military) that are brutal and often heartbreaking. French former exile Berenice, who’s once again working for what remains of the French court, is attempting to create an alliance between her state and the ever-growing group of newly sentient Clakkers, who are rebelling against the Dutch. Anastasia, the Dutch Tuinier in charge of the Sacred Guild that creates and rules the Clakkers, is attempting to put down the free Clakkers now attacking them in the Old World. And Daniel, the sentient Clakker whose awakening initiated the events in the first book, is threatened on all sides, including by the malevolent Clakkers led by Queen Mab, who is as willing as the Dutch to take control of and sacrifice Clakkers. Tregellis doesn’t make life (or death) easy for any of his characters, and an opening massacre scene is particularly horrific, including gruesome deaths of children. This is a satisfying conclusion to an excellent trilogy. Agent: Kay McCauley, Pimlico Agency. (Dec.)