Noted space expert Bova returns to his planetary future history (Moonrise, etc.)
in a hard-charging continuation of the battle for the Asteroid Belt begun in The Precipice
(2001). Positing an Earth on the brink of eco-catastrophe, a recently independent moon and a frontier filled with prospectors and claim-jumpers out among the asteroids, it is a story that at first appears to be very familiar. But mixed in with the high-tech optimism and libertarian good faith are the darker elements of an older dramatic tradition. Keeping his themes classical—love, jealousy, greed—Bova gives his tale energy and focus through a love triangle that evolves into a vendetta. Lars Fuchs finds that he and new wife Amanda can't escape from the attentions of Martin Humphries, his rival for both Amanda and the Belt's mineral wealth. Trying to establish a home on Ceres, Lars and Amanda, with their fellow prospectors and miners, are threatened by increasing attacks on their property and lives. Ultimately, Lars must duel Dorik Harbin, the gunslinger sent to kill all who refuse to sign contracts with Humphries Space Systems. As in Greek tragedy, from which the author openly draws, there's no happy ending, only deception, gory murder, exile and planned revenge. Archetypal rather than well-rounded, characters suffer more from their own fatal flaws, hubris
chief among them, than from each other's actions. Ambitiously juggling elements of space opera, western and Sophoclean drama, Bova keeps the pages turning. (Apr. 11)
FYI:A past SFWA president, Bova has won six Hugo Awards.