From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Marusek's wide-ranging and creative imagination is very much in evidence in this ambitious second novel. In 2007's Counting Heads
, a rocket ship crash, apparently sabotage, killed powerful financier Eleanor Starke and left her adult daughter, Ellen, gravely injured. Ellen, whose damaged head has been grafted onto the body of an infant, insists her mother is still alive, an apparent delusion that complicates her efforts to assert control over the family business empire. As clones and artificial intelligences begin to redefine humanity and sentience, powerful executives derail a space colonization plan for their own profit. While newcomers might wish for a short prologue or a glossary, those omissions don't significantly detract. With ambitious narrative scope and small moments of perfect prose, this tale of 22nd-century politics repays the close reading necessary to follow its many interweaving plots. (Jan.)
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Ellen Starke’s head, recovered from the crash that killed her mother, Eleanor, has a lot to deal with. She has a clone, but its body is a baby’s; she’s responsible for the teetering empire her mother created; she’s surrounded by people plotting against her; and she believes Eleanor can’t be dead. Applied People’s corporate fortunes are about to take a tumble, partly because Fred Londenstane’s on trial for his part in Ellen’s rescue. Andrea Tiekel, head of E-Pluribus, is maneuvering to take over the clone market and, in fact, angling for control of even more, including Heliostream and the entire extrasolar colonization plan. Heliostream CEO Merrill Meewee, one of Eleanor’s loyal agents, discovers some very interesting fish while skipping rocks in a pond on the Starke Enterprises campus. Intrigue, plotting, adventure, and bizarre conspiracies abound in this eminently satisfying follow-up to Counting Heads (2005). Marusek has built a solid world and paces the unfolding of corporate takeover and social mayhem so as to keep the reader fascinated. And the resolution is elegant and satisfying. --Regina Schroeder