cover image The Mercy of Gods

The Mercy of Gods

James S.A. Corey. Orbit, $30 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-52557-2

Writing as Corey, bestsellers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (The Expanse) create a dazzling new world in their masterful Captive’s War series launch. In the distant future, humanity has settled on the planet Anjiin, but the history of how they arrived there has been lost to time. Tonner Freis, a brilliant research scientist, has achieved a historic breakthrough in humanity’s ability to translate the language of Anjiin’s native, silicon-based, life-forms. But before he and his colleagues can learn more, Anjiin is invaded by the Carryx, which resemble “unthinkably vast cockroaches that bent up at a right angle in the middle.” Having conquered countless worlds, the Carryx operate from the conviction that “what can be subjugated, must be.” The authors create suspense through a prologue that foreshadows the conquest of Anjiin to be a Pyrrhic victory—in the process, the Carryx unwittingly bring the enemy who will defeat them into their midst. With that Damoclean sword dangling over the plot, the focus shifts to Freis and his team as they struggle to survive the invasion and their subsequent captivity. In Corey’s hands, world-shaking events don’t preclude nuanced and moving portraits of the people caught up in them. This is space opera at its best. (Aug.)