cover image MERCURY


Ben Bova, . . Tor, $24.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0412-4

Set in the same future universe as the author's asteroid series (The Silent War , etc.) and sharing such major players as the Yamagata Corporation and the religion of the New Morality, Hugo-winner Bova's well-plotted fourth planet novel (after 2003's Saturn ) features a classic love triangle, backed by the occasional Greek chorus of scientific explanations. While astrobiologist Victor Molina and engineer Mance Bracknell (disguised as Dante Alexios) vie for the affections of Victor's wife, Lara Tierney Molina, Saito Yamagata attempts to create an efficient, inexpensive staging area on Mercury to send ships into deep space. Meanwhile, Bracknell schemes to exact revenge for his destroyed past. Ten years earlier, Bracknell's efforts to create another efficient, inexpensive method of launching spaceships called "The Sky Tower" was sabotaged by Bishop Danvers of the New Morality, as well as by Molina and Yamagata's son, Nobu. Millions of innocents died as a result. The moral questions raised by Bracknell's complicated retribution scenarios about the rights of victims for revenge and the immoral consequences of moral acts add depth to an otherwise standard tale of space adventure. Agent, Barbara Bova. (May 4)