My Reading: Past, Present and Future 06.05.18

Past: Embers of War (ebook) by Gareth L. Powell


This review may contain minor spoilers.

I’ve been hankering for a fresh, new space opera series, so when I saw Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell on more than one list of “upcoming science fiction books to check out”, I figured it had to give it a try.

After a nasty galactic war, uneasy peace has built itself between two human groups–the Conglomeration and the Outwarders. Characters from both sides find themselves coming together from different worlds and must learn to work together on their mission. Of course, members from one side find it hard to trust members of the other, but if they don’t, the cease fire could fold and all out war ignite again.

In a way, each characters is an outcast. Captain Sal Konstantz makes a mistake that costs her a beloved member of her crew; Ashton Childe has screwed up so many times in his career as an intelligence agent and finds himself assigned to a miserable back water planet performing boring tasks; Ona Sudak hides a horrible secret for which she still suffers crippling guilt years later.

Embers of War’s most fascinating character is Trouble Dog, a sentient spaceship whose consciousness is based on the brainwaves of a long dead soldier. Even she second guesses the decisions she made during the war.  She tries to redeem herself by decommissioning as a warship and offering her services to a peacekeeping organization, The House of Reclamation. They transport medical and rescue personnel to help the crews of ships that have crashed or become incapacitated.

Captain Konstantz is now the captain of Trouble Dog and the interplay between captain and ship is engrossing. They soon realize they are on a mission that isn’t what it seems. Are they puppets for those who want to restart the war? Why are spaceships suddenly committing suicide?

This novel is complete in itself with a satisfying ending, but it is part of a trilogy, the latter two parts coming out later.

My craving for a new space opera series has been satisfied. I have no doubt Embers of War is one of the best science fiction books of 2018.


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