cover image Arkad’s World

Arkad’s World

James L. Cambias. Baen, $24 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8370-4

In this far-flung adventure, a young man who has grown up as the only human on a planet populated by myriad alien species discovers he’s not alone after all. Teenager Arkad is an experienced scavenger in the lawless city of Ayaviz, but he yearns to find other humans and earn a way off-planet. When he encounters a trio of humans seeking the Rosetta, a long-lost spacecraft reportedly containing a treasure trove of artifacts from Earth, he joins their party as a guide. However, their journey is fraught with danger, including pirates, natural hazards, and others who want the Rosetta’s secrets for their own. As Arkad and his new companions struggle through a series of episodic encounters across the unpredictable landscape of a hostile wilderness, he grows closer to them, especially the enigmatic cyborg, Baichi, to whom he’s attracted. But with multiple factions vying for this prize, not everyone in the group can be trusted. Cambias (Corsair) offers up an entertaining coming-of-age novel filled with action and surprises. His aliens are suitably non-human in mannerisms, attitudes, and objectives, and his worldbuilding suggests a vast universe ready for further exploration. Readers looking for retro space adventure with modern sensibilities will find this hits the spot. (Jan.)