cover image Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer

Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer

Adam Roberts. Gollancz (Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-575-12762-3

Exuberant Golden Age space opera plotting plays against slyly understated contemporary storytelling in this exceptional novel. Although the discovery of a faster-than-light space drive offers humankind hope of escaping from an increasingly stagnant and brutally regimented solar system, it also makes possible the construction of a supernova bomb that could wipe out entire planets. The ruthless eponymous character is willing to do literally anything to keep the secret out of the wrong hands, but readers only gradually learn who and what he is and whether he can be trusted. Moving through three episodes that superficially resemble traditional narratives—a prison break and two whodunits—Roberts uses cunning and restraint in revealing Jack’s thoughtful use of violence to teach Diana Argent, the brilliant but naïve young heiress of a powerful clan, how to survive in an unforgiving environment. This intelligent, powerful mingling of sensibilities and a serenely assured style makes for a remarkably compelling novel. (June)