cover image The Darwin Elevator

The Darwin Elevator

Jason M. Hough. Del Rey, $9.99 mass market (496p) ISBN 978-0-345-53712-6

In this impressive first installment of a planned trilogy, mysterious aliens plant the lower end of a space elevator deep into Darwin, on the northwestern coast of Australia. Five years later, a virus breaks out, leaving Earth denuded of all but scattered remnants of feral “subhumans.” Proximity to the elevator provides immunity for human survivors living in Darwin and along the elevator itself. A small number of those survivors are naturally immune to the virus, including Skyler Luiken, a Han Solo–like aircraft captain who scours the infected Earth for salvageable bits of civilization. The credible dystopian setting is peopled with sympathetic and improbably beautiful heroes and heroines who are forced by circumstance to take arms against a power-hungry prefect and a corporate tycoon willing to betray his planet for personal gain. Newcomer Hough displays a talent for imaginative plotting and realistic dialogue, and the brisk pacing and cliffhanger ending will keep readers enthralled and eagerly awaiting the next installment. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Aug.)