Conflict grips the galaxy. A tense peace treaty has been signed between the Sovereignty and the Commonwealth.
On the other side of the galaxy an eccentric artist, Ale Euclid, on the cusp of real success seemingly jumps to his death, beginning an investigation that will unravel a connection between 16 individuals scattered across the stars. C. Gideon Jane, investigator for the Sluga Mining Trust, has been called in to discover what really happened. While investigating, he crosses paths with Moira Cossima, a mysterious friend of Ale Euclid, whose insight leads him deeper into a sprawling conspiracy.
Meanwhile, treasure hunters J’quar and Fei are hot on the trail of an artifact called the Pondus at the behest of the Sluga Mining Trust. Trapped aboard a mining tower on Quartus, twins Leda and Lorelei must face down strange creatures and a monster that dwells deep within the ice floes of the red planet. Not far from the two sisters, a wrongfully accused inmate is haunted by what he has done, and what he has been asked to do.
An attack on the Dimidium-Bet waystation in neutral space by Grand Admiral Leahy of the Sovereignty tests an already shaky relationship between the two warring societies. Blaise Centauri, admiral of the Commonwealth fleet, and Nom Chatar, his second, arrive in time to save some refugees from the station, including Bar Thiel, a relief worker and doctor aboard the destroyed station.
Even though they begin worlds apart from one another, the universe has set them upon a collision course with one another….
Uncaged Review: The Commonwealth and Sovereignty have only a tenuous peace. Many in the galaxy are anticipating and preparing for a war, and many can feel that something is coming.
On Nyan, an artist is found murdered. Inspector Jane, who has been sent by the Sluga Mining Corporation, is unable to find many answers, instead stumbling upon more and more confusing and unsettling realizations. Inside a prison in another part of the galaxy, a bitter and defeated prisoner is suddenly freed by a strange man with unknown motives.
On Quartus, a carbon dioxide mining planet owned by Sluga, the workers and technicians discover a horrifying presence.
In space, a Commonwealth ship comes to the defense of a waystation that has apparently been attacked by a Sovereignty vessel.
On A’galla, several groups search for a mysterious and powerful artifact.
Throughout these seemingly unconnected events, there is talk of “That Which Came Before” and “The Initiated,” and “Primes” keep being mentioned.
I really love so many things about this book. The creativity truly abounds. Mr. O’Brien is quite good at world building. I particularly enjoyed the sections about Inspector Jane and the sections about the prisoner. There were some fascinating elements included in the story such as augmented reality, sophisticated AI, and other cool technology. Any one of the sections could have been amazing expanded into a full novel. I am definitely itching to know how everything ties together. My curiosity was only partially sated in the end, and I am hoping that there is much more to come. This book seems like a pretty good setup for a larger series.
My main complaint with this is that it seemed a little too disjointed. The separate sections were very interesting on their own, and they clearly connect in some way, but it was a little difficult to follow the plotline. It seemed like a series of short stories that were all mixed together. Each had a very unique flavor. I did like the characters, though there was not very much time for real character growth. I did find many things confusing. There were so many new planets and ideas being presented that it was hard to follow at times. A glossary or some sort of summarizing chapter would help, I think.
I would be interested to read the next in the series, just to find out how everything connects! Good job, Mr. O’Brien, for an imaginative and interesting Sci-Fi adventure! Reviewed by Emily