cover image Poseidon's Wake

Poseidon's Wake

Alastair Reynolds. Ace, $26.95 (608p) ISBN 978-0-425-25679-4

The conclusion of Reynolds's Poseidon's Children trilogy (after On the Steel Breeze), set in the 27th century, effectively resolves the major story lines while leaving room open for a return to this complex universe. Ndege Akinya carries the guilt of having caused the death of over 400,000 people as the result of a single miscalculation, but her brother, Mposi, offers her a path toward at least partial redemption. A communication from over 70 light years away has reached the planet of Crucible, where they both live, and all it says is "Send Ndege." Mposi believes that her acceptance of that cryptic request from an unknown source could be viewed as a selfless act on behalf of her fellow citizens. The repercussions of her decision form one of the major plot threads; another deals with another family member, Kanu, who died in a terrorist strike on Mars but was returned to life. Reynolds tosses a whodunit into the mix. In the classic speculative fiction tradition, he grounds his vision of the future in timeless discussions about the meaning of existence. (Feb.)