cover image The Nova Incident

The Nova Incident

Dan Moren. Angry Robot, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-85766-945-2

Moren’s third Galactic Cold War space opera (after The Aleph Extraction) looks to the internal politics of the Commonwealth for a breathtakingly twisty story. This outing leans to the investigative and procedural side, but still provides plenty of adrenaline-filled maneuvers by a team that trusts one another’s competence if not always one another’s motives. Maj. Simon Kovalic must deal with the loose end he left nine months earlier when he let Lt. Aaron Page disappear after his betrayal of Kovalic’s team. The office building housing the Commonwealth government’s communication hub on Terra Nova is bombed, and Page appears in terrorist group Nova Front’s video claiming responsibility. Kovalic’s team is directed to work the case by tracking Page, an approach which has them butting heads with the Commonwealth Intelligence Directorate and uncovering some of the Commonwealth’s most unsavory secrets. Though most of the action is planet-based, daredevil car chases and fiery explosions provide plenty of excitement. Moren’s meaty storytelling capitalizes on Kovalic and his crew’s complex relationships and improvisational teamwork and buzzes with well-earned surprises. Moren proves there’s plenty more life in this series with an entry that satisfies in its own right and sets things up nicely for the next installment. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky. (July)