Prefect Tom Dreyfus, his protégé Thalia Ng, Prefect Sparver (a hyperpig) and others who debuted in The Prefect (2007) return in Alistair Reynolds new book in his Revelation Space universe. Following their adventures stopping an AI from taking control of the Glitter Band, a civilization of orbital habitats managing a pretty good democracy through neural implant consensus, Tom and his colleagues are faced with two new threats to the civilization they are sworn to protect. There’s an influential rabble rouser seeding dissent and urging habitats to secede on the one hand and a mysterious string of deaths spread across the worlds that defies analysis and seems to be increasing exponentially. If the Glitter Band doesn’t dissolve in discontent, it might fail from mass pandemic unless Dreyfus and the agents of Panoply can find out who or what is behind the deaths and restore the public trust.
Callie Machedo is the scruffy, emotionally damaged captain of the cargo/gunship White Raven, and when she discovers a derelict human spaceship in trans Neptunian space she doesn’t know if it’s a box that will hold gold or spiders, but she’s not the sort that doesn’t want to find out. The ship shouldn’t be there at all, considering that it left 500 years before to seed a new colony, but its navigation logs show that it reached its destination and jumped back using a drive that nobody has ever seen before, or at least, no human. The alien race that showed up a few centuries after the ship left, bringing wormhole access and other advanced tech may be all too familiar with the technology that allowed the ship to make a point to point jump, and it scares them to the center of their starfish shaped beings. Continue reading