cover image Luna: New Moon

Luna: New Moon

Ian McDonald. Tor, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7551-3

McDonald (Empress of the Sun) begins his superb near-future series launch with an elaborate and very necessary list of characters. The five families who rule Earth%E2%80%99s moon, called the Five Dragons, operate in an essentially feudal system. There is no law but contract law and consensus, and contract violations can be settled by dueling. The Cortas, the newest of the Dragons, control the moon%E2%80%99s helium and ship it to Earth to power the overpopulated planet. Their greatest enemy, the MacKenzies, control mineral extraction and have deeply resented the Cortas%E2%80%99 incursion into their domain. Adriana, the founder of the Corta family, is old, and her sons and daughters are relentlessly jockeying for the succession. Meanwhile, Marina Calzaghe, a near-destitute temporary Corta employee, saves one of those sons from assassination, and quickly finds herself drawn into the family%E2%80%99s scintillating, violent, and decadent world. McDonald creates a complex and fascinating civilization featuring believable technology, and the characters are fully developed, with individually gripping stories. Watch for this brilliantly constructed family saga on next year%E2%80%99s award ballots. Agent:John Berlyne, Zeno Agency, in association with Martha Millard, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)