cover image Mecha Samurai Empire

Mecha Samurai Empire

Peter Tieryas. Ace, $16 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-451-49099-5

Tieryas expands on the universe introduced in United States of Japan, an alternate history in which Japan and Germany won WWII, in this terrific coming-of-age story. Makoto “Mac” Fujimoto, an ambitious war orphan, dreams of becoming a mecha combat robot pilot but lacks the social connections or grades to enter Berkeley Military Academy, where mecha pilots are trained. Mac is preparing to take exams that will determine his academic future when an incursion by a terrorist group, the National Revolutionaries of America, kills his best friend and alters the course of his life. Mac’s journey from dispossessed youth to heroic avenger is accompanied by a colorful cast, inhabiting a vibrant world that confronts the high cost of war without becoming mired in its darkness. The middle’s sluggish pacing, which threatens to grind events to a halt, is the book’s only flaw; otherwise, Tieryas perfectly balances humor, action, and romance. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Sept.)