cover image The Aleph Extraction

The Aleph Extraction

Dan Moren. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-85766-841-7

Moren’s fantastically fun second Galactic Cold War space opera (after The Bayern Agenda) ditches all but the most cursory of intergalactic politics to make room for a frenzied, humorous, and brawl-heavy spy mission aboard a luxury starcruiser. Simon Kovalic, a secret agent of the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, must hire new personnel for his Special Projects Team following the betrayal of a team member. Despite concerns from his executive officer, Natalie Taylor, he takes a chance on young former criminal and special ops washout Adelaide Sayers. Simon leads Adelaide and Natalie aboard the Queen Amina to retrieve the stolen Aleph Tablet, a storied artifact that could be an asset in the conflict between the Commonwealth and the Illyrican Empire if the rumors that it contains the technological secrets of an alien race prove true. The ensuing action-packed mission is grounded by strong team dynamics rendered with psychological precision: Simon’s determined to take care of his own, Natalie’s frustrated with his secretiveness, and Adelaide’s desperate to belong. It’s easy to root for these ragtag, quick-thinking underdogs as they stand up to intergalactic bullies big and small. Readers will end this installment deeply attached to Moren’s bold characters and eagerly anticipating what comes next. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (May)