cover image Stolen Skies

Stolen Skies

Tim Powers. Baen, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-982125-83-7

Paranormal investigators Sebastian Vickery and Ingrid Castine, a pair of well-matched misfits last encountered in Forced Perspectives, are back in L.A. to stave off an extraterrestrial apocalypse in this fun, dimension-bending thriller. After going their separate ways, the pair are thrown back together when civilian Vickery stumbles on classified information, and Naval Intelligence special agent Castine is pulled from her work disguising real crop circles as hoaxes to find out what her former partner knows. With coolly efficient Rayette Yoneda by her side and a squad of sensitive assignment specialists trailing behind, Castine tracks Vickery to a faked UFO crash site in the Mojave Desert that was designed to lure flying saucer buffs. Then real saucers show up, and some itchy Russian agents take out the navy security specialists, putting Castine and Vickery back on the run together, dodging spies from both sides while gathering allies among flat-earthers and chess-playing cultists waiting for the saucers to arrive. Powers, a master of mixing ESP and espionage with history and folklore, takes a more character-driven approach here, layering in backstory and internal monologue. It lessens some of the sense of wonder but adds to the depth of emotion. Fans will be thrilled. (Jan.)