cover image Star’s End

Star’s End

Cassandra Rose Clarke. Saga, $26.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4429-3

In this skillfully orchestrated tale set nearly 2,000 years in the future, Clarke (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter) foregrounds a family drama of Shakespearean scope against the backdrop of an interplanetary “corpocracy” run by Phillip Coramina, a manufacturer of bioengineered weapons. When Phillip is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he deputizes his oldest daughter, Esme, to call her three estranged stepsisters home to the family estate at Star’s End. As Clarke’s narrative toggles back and forth between these events and occurrences in the past, it reveals sordid secrets that Esme has gradually become aware of—especially those connecting her youngest sister, Isabel, to the Radiance, a mysterious alien influence intimately bound up with the Coramina Group’s commerce. Clarke’s smoothly calibrated mystery is also a coming-of-age tale for Esme, as she accepts her responsibilities as heir apparent to her father’s business. The well-developed characters enhance this novel of grand ideas, bringing relatable human motives and vulnerabilities to a world in which industry, government, warfare, and space travel are inextricably intertwined. (Mar.)