cover image Stars and Bones

Stars and Bones

Gareth L. Powell. Titan, $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-78909-428-2

Powell (the Embers of War trilogy) burnishes his reputation as a creative and literate space opera author in his Continuance series kickoff. A politician’s offhand joke triggers the launch of nuclear missiles, but, miraculously, none of them detonate. That’s thanks to an extraterrestrial being dubbed an angel, who has been monitoring life on Earth and who deactivates all weaponry after concluding that humanity’s recent scientific breakthrough in substrate space travel merits the survival of homo sapiens. But the angel also decides to spare the planet from humanity’s ravages, and exiles them to a massive fleet of giant spaceships. Seventy-five years later, the survivors are imperiled after the scout ship Couch Surfer explores a possible new home planet, awakening an invisible force that rips them to shreds. After the crew falls silent, a rescue mission, piloted by Eryn King, whose sister had been on Couch Surfer, investigates, only increasing the risk to the flotilla. Powell balances plot, action, and character development perfectly. This promising start will especially appeal to James S.A. Corey fans. (Feb.)