This ambitious science fiction thriller--about a jihadist whose mission is to destroy two space stations and a thriving city on the moon--is visionary as well as topical.
Fahd al-Sharfa's entire life has been about becoming a shahid, a "martyr for truth." Indoctrinated as a child and educated for one purpose--to push a button and kill thousands of "Satan's minions"--Fahd has been waiting for the message to annihilate himself and everyone else in Luna City.
But he begins questioning his own beliefs when he falls in love with a coworker: a cat-like, bipedal alien named Quenby. She's an Antal: seven feet tall, white haired, white skinned, and "intoxicatingly sensual." Their physical chemistry is undeniable--as is their spiritual connection--and Fahd realizes he must choose between his mission or love. The complex political situation surrounding Luna and the space stations complicates matters, as does the existence of "peebs:" those passed-beyond who, although dead, are still actively participating in society.
Although Charles Freedom Long has created a complex foundation for his story, it's explained clearly and concisely and has a sense of authenticity to it. The interaction of various sentient alien races gives the narrative a C.J.Cherryh vibe, and the care with which the author describes the aliens--physically and sociologically--is impressive; the sex scene between Fahd and Quenby is nothing short of spectacular. His concepts surrounding the dead are fascinating and the themes he explores--what is truth, the power of love, etc,--are profoundly moving.
This is a unique, fast-paced, and utterly readable book. It is highly recommended.
Blueink review-starred review