From Publishers Weekly
Westerfeld's (Evolution's Darling) exceptionally smart and empathetic novel, the first of two in a series, confirms the buzz that space opera is one of the most exciting branches of current SF. In an interstellar empire of 80 human worlds, ruled by an emperor who lets selected humans cheat death, tensions between most humans and the resurrected elite, aka the Risen, are increasing. The Rix, a cult of cyborgs who worship compound AI minds, hunger to liberate the empire's worlds from mere human control. When a Rix raiding party captures the emperor's sister, Capt. Laurent Zai of the Imperial Navy must save her. Viewpoint rapidly shifts from character to character and from a vast perspective to an extremely small one-that of the intelligence scouts Zai sends ahead of the rescue mission, nano-machines smaller than insects. Keeping the reader constantly off-balance, Westerfeld skillfully integrates extreme technologies with human characters.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The emperor, surrounded by his elite of those chosen to become undead, has ruled for 1,600 years, and the empire has become decadent, with the gap between the living and the Risen growing apace. Then the Rix--computer-augmented humans who revere planetary AI--kidnap the child empress on her own planet, Legis XV. Not only does this threaten the emperor's great secret, it is the furthest incursion into imperial space that the Rix have yet made. Captain Laurent Zai is charged to effect the empress' rescue--a dangerous, almost impossible task. Meanwhile, the woman he loves, a senator of the Secularist Party of
the living and against
the Risen, is enmeshed in the political consequences of the Rix invasion and the preparation for war. It doesn't take long for the Legis XV computers to become a compound mind a la the Rix and fight for survival, too. Westerfeld manages the action impeccably, and he leaves threads of plot hanging for a grand space-opera finale in a promised sequel. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved