The Moon, shaken by the Anniversary Day tragedies, deals with devastation. The Earth Alliance believes another attack imminent, but no one knows where or when it will strike. Just like no one knows who ordered the attacks in the first place.
The Moon’s chief security office, Noelle DeRicci, does her best to hold the United Domes government together. But Retrieval Artist Miles Flint, dissatisfied with the investigation into the Anniversary Day events, begins an investigation of his own. He builds a coalition of shady operatives, off-the-books detectives, and his own daughter, Talia, in a race against time. A race, he quickly learns, that implicates organizations he trusts - and people he loves.
“Rusch does a superb job of making the Retrieval Artist books work as fully satisfying standalone mysteries and as installments in a gripping saga full of love, loss, grief, hope, adventure, and discovery. It is also some of the best science fiction ever written.” (New York Times best-selling author, Orson Scott Card)
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Ending Missing--Call a Retrieval Artist?
Blowback: Your weapon today might be their weapon tomorrow.
I have read the previous novels in the series, and this one builds on the others and exceeds them in both plot complexity and depth of characterization. Talia, Police Detective Nyquist, and undercover Earth Alliance Agent Zagrando all get significant time as point-of-view characters in addition to Noelle DeRicci and Miles Flint. Agent Zagrando & Detective Nyquist no longer seem like new characters making their story lines more interesting. Personally, I like DeRicci's gruff character better in small doses, so her reduced roll was appreciated.
I enjoyed that this book had the feel of a spy novel in addition to the expected police procedural style, heightening suspense and intrigue. In the best tradition of science fiction, Rusch continues to deftly explore the essence of person-hood, individualism, and discrimination using the future as her lens.
On the downside, this book leaves too many questions unanswered and that is disappointing. When the credits rolled, it seemed like it was three chapters too soon. To be fair, a significant part of the storyline does resolve, but unfortunately, without the all-important "why's" answered. The author has admitted that the story was "too big to fit" with which I can sympathize. The cliffhanger aspect didn't feel manipulative or purposeful. Sadly, fans will have to wait longer for several of the plot threads of this book to come to fruition.
Additionally, a couple story aspects don't quite ring true (e.g. two characters arguing essentially over nothing) other than as "because the script said so" excuses for conflict. While not too off-putting, there is no doubt in my mind that the author "rushed" this one and continuity suffered. I highly recommend the book even with it's flaws and I am very optimistic that there will be an appropriate payoff in the next novel. If you are new to the series, start with one of the first 3 books. Those who like this series should also enjoy the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold.
- John C.
Great Series-Great Narration Too