cover image Machine Vendetta

Machine Vendetta

Alastair Reynolds. Orbit, $19.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-46284-6

Reynolds returns to his Prefect Dreyfus Emergencies universe (after Elysium Fire) for a touching and spectacularly intricate sequel that also functions well as a standalone. Dreyfus is a seasoned prefect of Panoply, the agency tasked with safeguarding democracy across the 10,000 habitats of the galaxy’s Glitter Band. When his trusted subordinate Ingvar Tench enters a dangerous, watchlisted habitat without permission and meets a grisly end, Dreyfus and fellow operative Sparver Bancal investigate, hoping to uncover both Ingvar’s motive for entering the territory and her murderer. Along the way, two warring artificial intelligences individually reach out to Dreyfus with dire warnings. Meanwhile, Prefect Thalia Ng looks into a suicide attack led by a Panoply turncoat and finds an unexpected connection between the two cases, evidence of a larger conspiracy originating from within Panoply’s ranks. Every chapter reveals another layer to the far-reaching mystery, all the while building to a stunning crescendo in which characters old and new band together to face a long-dreaded scenario. Fans of hard science fiction, noir, and space opera alike will be sucked in. Agent: Robert Kirby, United Agents. (Jan.)