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Ragamuffin Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 2008

25 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765354101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765354105
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,481,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 500 REVIEWER on 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Mountjoy on 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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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Patrick A. Kellner on February 5, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
We pick up in a not too distant future from where "Crystal Rain" left off but in a far distant corner of space. Our new hero Nashara completed a necessary task in order to obtain the funds she needs to continue her ongoing travels towards a distant planet many worm holes away where she intends to complete here real mission against the Benevolent Satrapy. Her latest task however has brought her to the attention of the wrong people and now the Gahe are now looking for her and the Hongguo might be as well...

New Anegda; a decades has passed since the war with the Azeteca and negotiations continue between the two people and trade routs have opened up. Pepper still awaits the healing of the only space ship on the planet so that he can leave New Anegada before the worm hole re-opens and Teotl pour out re-igniting the Azteca and starting the war all over again. He is too late however as the worm hole re-opens and to the horror of many Teotl start to emerge and the Azteca are once again warring on the people of New Anegada with the help of the Teotl's space ships and technology...

"Crystal Rain" was ok, so I decided to give the next book in line a chance hoping that the glaring holes in Buckell's writing game may have been filled with gained experience. I was however disappointed yet again as it appears that Tobias has not grown as a writer since his last at bat.

The Good: Buckell has some solid original ideas regarding technology, culture and universe and world building. The problem I found is that he lacks in execution department.

The Bad: Buckell's prose leaves something to be desired.
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