cover image Cascade Failure

Cascade Failure

L.M. Sagas. Tor, $17.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-87125-1

Sagas debuts with a fun romp through a faraway galaxy where three political powers’ jittery coexistence is threatened when a mysterious disaster strikes a terraformed planet. Trust wields corporate power, Union controls the labor necessary to exploit new worlds, and the paramilitary Guild tries to keep both factions honest. Former Guild ranger Jal Red, suspected of desertion, is lured aboard the old spacer Ambit, joining three other entertaining misfits: philosophical AI Captain Eoan; Nash, an augmented doctor-engineer who knits; and Saint, Ambit’s XO and Jal’s grumpy former battle buddy, who has plenty of unresolved issues with Jal. Answering an SOS from a planet stricken by a mysterious weapon, the crew brings aboard Anke, the lone survivor and a whiz-kid programmer who wants to stop what he calls the “Deadworld Code,” a high-tech, planet-destroying weapon developed by forces preferring profit to people. Rapid-fire adventures spiked with army jargon and balanced with touching resolutions of personal conflicts keep the pages turning. Add in a charming found family—and even a space-faring cat—and this spirited space opera is a resounding success. (Mar.)