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Ragamuffin [Kindle Edition]

Tobias S. Buckell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

The Benevolent Satrapy rule an empire of forty-eight worlds, linked by thousands of wormholes strung throughout the galaxy. Human beings, while technically "free," mostly skulk around the fringes of the Satrapy, struggling to get by. The secretive alien Satraps tightly restrict the technological development of the species under their control. Entire worlds have been placed under interdiction, cut off from the rest of the universe.


Descended from the islanders of lost Earth, the Ragamuffins are pirates and smugglers, plying the lonely spaceways around a dead wormhole. For years, the Satraps have tolerated the Raga, but no longer. Now they have embarked on a campaign of extermination, determined to wipe out the unruly humans once and for all.


But one runaway woman may complicate their plans. Combat enabled, Nashara is more machine than flesh, and she carries inside her a doomsday weapon that could reduce the entire galaxy to chaos. A hunted fugitive, she just wants to get home before she's forced to destroy civilization---and herself.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the same far-future universe as Crystal Rain (2006), in which the ruling alien Satrapy has confined humanity to the fringes of a confederation of worlds linked by wormholes, Buckell's second SF novel provides plenty of gun play and close calls for his heroes. The Satraps now seek the all-out destruction of the Raga, descendants of an Earth island culture. A young Raga woman, Nashara, attempts to evade capture from a determined pursuer, just as the wormhole to her home, Nanagada, mysteriously reopens. Meanwhile, the aliens who control Nanagada struggle for power, Teotl against Loa, while humans play them against each other, hoping to break their iron control. As the political situation destabilizes, Nashara and her friends appear, and total war for the right of humanity to live free becomes inevitable. Buckell plays with Caribbean and Aztec cultures, bending their exotic flavor to technology-flavored ends. Though the ending is never in doubt, the twisty ride getting there is a lot of fun.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The sequel to Crystal Rain (2006) shows Buckell living up to its promises as the Benevolent Satrapy continues to be anything but on all 48 worlds it dominates. On most, the humans who survived Earth's destruction huddle on the social fringes. The Ragamuffins are different. They are tolerated as something between a pirate brotherhood and a resistance organization. The satrapy becomes less indulgent when they sprout a cyborg leader, Nashara, and suddenly show the potential for real damage. The resulting conflict is first-class space adventure, with tip-top characterization, action, and world-building. May Buckell enjoy a long, productive career. Green, Roland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1158 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (June 12, 2007)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002LA0AXE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,578 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Successor to Crystal Rain August 28, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Tobias Buckell has created a grand and fascinating universe within the pages of Ragamuffin. He clearly excels at universe-building and character creation; everything he details positively comes alive, whether it's a dying space habitat, a distant alien Satrap, or the sheer chaos of facing a copy of one's self and having a chat.

Surprises and revelations flow naturally and aren't used to artificially ratchet up the tension or bolster the pace. This means that if you figure something out in advance, it doesn't cause an anticlimax or rob the story of its momentum. The story is fast-paced and intriguing, and I had difficulty putting it down once I started (in fact I first picked it up during a lull in something else, and ended up putting that first activity aside because the book was too engrossing).

The characters are amazing and fascinating, every bit as much so as in Crystal Rain. In most authors' hands the League of Human Affairs would have been a one-dimensional organization, but in Buckell's hands even it comes alive with personality. We're reunited with John, Jerome, and yes, even Pepper, who are dealing with a whole new (and very different) invasion of Nanagada by the Teotl. Not only do we enjoy the presence of old friends, but we get to watch them grow and change in new and different ways as they face new difficulties.

Crystal Rain was an absolutely stunning debut, and Ragamuffin is a wholly worthy successor. It's a touch slower in places due to the background provided on some of the aspects of the world, but not enough to detract from the novel in my opinion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure in space! August 20, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Ragamuffin, the sequel to Crystal Rain, tells the story of Nashara, an enhanced human and living weapon who may hold the key to freeing humanity from the rule of the Satrapy. Ragamuffin takes the series in a new direction; Crystal Rain was largely a steampunk novel set on a world which had lost its technology. Ragamuffin shows us this universe from a different angle, from which we can see the technology that drives everything. Gone are the airships and trains of Crystal Rain; here we see space stations, orbiting habitats, and wormhole-jumping spacecraft. We see space battles, politics, and the shape of a galaxy in which humans are considered dangerous and are therefore enslaved or isolated.

All of the characters are very human and believable (even those who aren't, technically, human). Regardless of where a character falls on the antagonist/protagonist scale, everyone we meet is somehow a sympathetic character. The antagonists, who sometimes do horrible things, never act for evil ends; nobody here is a bad guy in his own eyes. Pepper makes a reappearance, and we get to learn more about him and see him in action again; I'm hoping he appears in Sly Mongoose, the next book in this series.

Ragamuffin deals with science in fun ways. Everything seems real, because the author never cheats with physics. Everything that's explained, is explained well, accurately, and -- importantly -- quickly (not in pages-long infodumps). Some things aren't explained, but because everything else makes so much sense, we take their workings for granted.

The author has many moments of cleverness in the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ragamuffin August 9, 2007
Format:Hardcover
I had no clue that Ragamuffin was a story written in the Benevolent Satrapy universe. Tobias Buckell wrote a book that was set in the same universe entitled Crystal Rain. At first, I was confused as to what was going on. Yet as I read on, Buckell did a wonderful job at bringing the reader into the story. Thus, Ragamuffin could be read as a stand alone book. Buckell does a wonderful job of meshing Carib folklore with science.

Imagine a universe in which humanity is enslaved by an all powerful race called the Satraps. They rule the universe with an iron grip. Earth has been cut off from the rest of humanity by an enclosed wormhole. Each alien species under the Benevolent Satrapy is held in place by conditioned members of their own race. Yet there remain a group of ragtag smugglers called Ragamuffins who like their modern counterparts wear long locks and speak in patois.

Long ago, humans on earth placed one hard bet and created ten identical women from the DNA of a legendary hero who hid secret weapons in their wombs. They were able to penetrate the Earth wormhole and infiltrate the rest of the universe. It was a long shot but it was the best chance of overthrowing the Benevolent Satrapy. Nashara, the protagonist and the only survivor of the original ten must convince the Ragamuffins and other humans to join forces to overthrow the aliens once and for all.

As a sci fi head, I still find talk of wormholes to be way over my head. Buckell, however, explains the concepts of wormholes in layman's terms. The pacing of the book is slow which allows for character development. Ironically, Buckell keeps the Satrap a mystery as we learn that several humans do not realized that they are enslaved. This detail demonstrates Buckell's skill as a writer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Space Opera
Loved the vivid action sequences and world building. Lukewarm on the hard tech realism. This is a dark story in many ways, which I normally do not enjoy but the entire series is... Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and imaginative story
I enjoyed this story. The blend of high tech and low tech makes an enjoyable read. I read all of the stories I could find in this sequence from the author.
Published on March 5, 2013 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining
I enjoy the whole series by Buckell. This is a worthy entry to a smart and fun series. I recommend it.
Published on February 3, 2013 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Buckell's Best Work So Far
I'll endeavor to make this a short review, since I've already said more than enough about how big a Buckell fan I've become recently. Read more
Published on March 18, 2011 by Alex J. Kane
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and confusing
I stuck with this book for nearly 200 pages before giving up, and was largely confused the whole time. Read more
Published on February 18, 2011 by Sheela Kamath
4.0 out of 5 stars Great follow-up to Crystal Rain
I typically like my sci-fi and fantasy on the lighter side, and wasn't expecting Ragamuffin to be way more hardcore than Crystal Rain, but it is. By far. Read more
Published on February 17, 2011 by Guy L. Gonzalez
3.0 out of 5 stars Veers wide of perfect wormhole-center
Buckell's sophomore effort is a mixed bag, with a medley of characters that span the cosmos. You will be wowed on this journey. And then you will be confused. Read more
Published on December 29, 2010 by C. Hill
2.0 out of 5 stars About the editing...
I read this after finishing Sly Mongoose, the next novel in the series. On the plus side, Buckell weaves a solid story. Read more
Published on September 19, 2010 by Rubik
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent space opera with a Caribbean twist
The Satrapy are a collective that rule the worlds and overlook everything, watching for forbidden technology and destroying it when it surfaces. Read more
Published on May 17, 2010 by Mark Chitty
2.0 out of 5 stars Vagueness bordering on incoherence
We pick up in a not too distant future from where "Crystal Rain" left off but in a far distant corner of space. Read more
Published on February 5, 2009 by Patrick A. Kellner
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More About the Author

Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He now lives in Ohio.

He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist. His work has appeared in the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies. His novel Ragamuffin was nominated for the Nebula and Prometheus awards.

You can visit his website at www.TobiasBuckell.com.

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