cover image The Exiled Fleet

The Exiled Fleet

J.S. Dewes. Tor, $17.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-23636-4

The surviving Sentinels of 2020’s The Last Watch face starvation and madness at the edge of the universe in the thrilling second space opera of Dewes’s Divide series. Six months after the events of book one, Sentinels Cavalon and Mesa work to get the Typhos’s jump drive online while everyone aboard contends with diminished rations and the temporal anomalies caused by their proximity to the Divide. The excellent found family dynamic among the protagonists is pushed to the fore when stoic commander Adequin Rake returns from restarting the last of the mysterious Viator generators to a joyful yet tense reunion with Cavalon, Mesa, and Jackin. The need for supplies soon forces Adequin to venture back into populated space on “a hundred-million light-year errand.” Along the way, a deeper exploration of the motives of the hostile alien Viators adds complexity and an unexpected reunion garners a new ally for the Sentinel’s limping mutiny against their Legion employers. Dewes expertly weaves character backstories into the action as Cavalon uncovers a disturbing secret about his childhood and Jackin’s past proves key to saving the Sentinels—at a terrible cost. Well-crafted intrigue, tense battles, and a lot of heart make for a page-turning adventure on the way to a conclusion that will leave fans anxiously awaiting the next installment. (Aug.)