cover image THE SILENT WAR: Book III of the Asteroid Wars

THE SILENT WAR: Book III of the Asteroid Wars

Ben Bova, . . Tor, $24.95 (380pp) ISBN 978-0-312-84878-1

With its macho posturing and stereotypical characters, including devious Japanese, Hugo-winner Bova's third book in his Asteroid Wars trilogy (after 2002's The Rock Rats and 2001's The Precipice ) could just as well have been written in the 1950s as today. Megalomaniac entrepreneur Martin Humphries of Humphries Space Systems has much to be pleased about on both the business and personal level: he has survived his battle with Astro Corporation's Dan Randolph and the luscious Amanda has divorced asteroid prospector Lars Fuchs to marry him. Then the Yamagata Corporation, a new player in the economy of asteroid mining, plunges the two companies into a bloody space-war and consolidates their assets in the power vacuum while Fuchs seeks vengeance on Humphries. The framing story, about an alien artifact that is both salvation and punishment for Humphries, puts a thick icing of morality on top of a series of predictable cliffhanger episodes involving violence, suffering and death. Short chapters, expository lumps and multiple, rapidly shifting perspectives on the action make for a jerky read. Agent, Barbara Bova. (May 13)