cover image The Sky Vault

The Sky Vault

Benjamin Percy. Morrow, $18.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-328-54441-4

Percy’s brilliant third Comet Cycle sci-fi novel (after The Unfamiliar Garden) pits a motley crew of self-reliant Alaskans against the sinister remnants of a secret WWII-era atomic laboratory and a hostile U.S. Department of Defense. After a year in Earth’s vicinity, a comet called Cain leaves a meteor shower that radically changed the planet, with deposits of “omnimetal” disrupting the laws of physics. In its wake, strange weather phenomena occur at Fairbanks, where the novel begins with the disappearance of amateur weatherman Chuck Bridges. On the case are aging sheriff Rolf Wagner and Chuck’s teenage son, Theo, who recruits his two weirdo friends to help. Meanwhile, an enigmatic hit woman prowls town and plucky contractor Joanna Straub is hired by the DOD to build a mysterious facility 40 miles north. Seamlessly tying these threads together with convincing excerpts from a scientist’s 1940s logbook, Percy offers intriguing theoretical physics, penetrating analysis of human greed, and deeply sympathetic characters. This standout combination of science and psychology is sure to wow SF fans. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)