Sounding Dark

Jo Graham. Candlemark & Gleam, $21.45 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-952456-05-3

Faith, luck, and grit propel this ambitious space opera from Graham (Black Ships). The moon Eresh was once a penal colony for the warmongering planet Calpurnia. Three generations ago, the inmates rebelled and set up their own government. Now their fierce descendants proudly carry the names of their ancestors’ infractions. As the Calpurnians prepare to retake Eresh, hard-nosed ship captain Adelita Massacre and practical Tal Robber hatch a plan to give Eresh a fighting chance against the superior Calpurnian navy. Meanwhile, Bister of planet Inanna is discovered miraculously alive in a spacesuit after the Calpurnians attack her ship. The enigmatic Navigator, Eresh’s religious leader, believes that Bister was blessed by the deity the Lady of the Void. When the Calpurnian fleet attacks, Tal stays on Eresh to distract and stall their ships while Adelita escapes with Bister; Bister’s lover, Griff; and the Navigator to find the long-lost ship Sounding Dark, which served as a temple to the Lady and could provide the edge the Ereshians need to win the war. Graham amps up the action, constructs a rich mythology of gods, cultures, and societies, and develops evocative characters that will make readers cheer. This pure sci-fi escape proves a fresh experience for fans who are tired of clichés. (Dec.)
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