cover image Shards of Earth

Shards of Earth

Adrian Tchaikovsky. Orbit, $28 (592p) ISBN 978-0-316-70585-1

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: the alien Essiel, who protect the worlds under their control; Earth’s Council of Human Interests; the alien-hating human Nativists; and the women warriors known as the Parthenon. Now Partheni Solace joins Idris’s crew to search the colonized worlds for hints to the Architects’ motives. But Solace’s true mission is to convince Idris to share the Intermediary technology with the Parthenon. Tchaikovsky’s intricately constructed world is vast yet sturdy enough to cradle inventive science, unique aliens, and complex political machinations. With a mix of lively fight scenes, friendly banter, and high-stakes intrigue, this is space opera at its best. Agent: Simon Kavanagh, Mic Cheetham Agency. (Aug.)