The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary new space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man's discovery will save or destroy us all.
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity's heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared - and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It's clearly the work of the Architects - but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.
Thanks to The Write Reads and the publisher Tor UK for an ARC of the book.
Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky is the first installment in his new science-fiction series, The Final Architects. This is the first book by Adrian Tchaikovsky I’ve read, although I do have one of his fantasy books sitting on my shelf to be read. It’s also the first science fiction book I’ve read in a long time that was this complex. So I’m not sure how much is genre convention or choice of the author.
The story starts off with a lot of exposition about the history of the galaxy, the relevant factions, and the Architect. I think I was a hundred pages in when the exposition lessened. If you don’t like books with a slow start, this one might not be for you. But is it worth pushing through? I’d say yes.
The author is setting the stage, but it’s not a simple set design. Imagine the grand operas of old, with elaborate set pieces with intricate details, gorgeous costumes, poetic lines, and bombastic orchestral music. The composition is one that either fails fantastically or soars the skies in success. For Shards of Earth, it’s definitely the latter.
The cast is incredible, a wonderful mix of human and non-human species. Medvig and Trine are my favourites among them. And I’m still curious about the Architects. It’s hard for me to imagine them and their size. The world-building (and destruction) is gritty, dangerous. and full of intrigue. It’s hard to know who your true allies are beyond the crew of your ship. It’s a wonder so many people have survived, to be honest.
what I liked most is the action-packed middle and ending. Once you’re familiar with the universe as it is, then all of hell breaks loose. No more time for chit-chat, you have to run. You have to fight. As slow as the first bit of the book was, so fast-paced is the second half. And for some reason, this pacing works. In some books, a slow start means I’ll lose interest, but there happened just enough to keep me interested. Then the fast-paced ending, where sometimes it was so fast you couldn’t speed-read through it. The climax kept on climbing higher and higher, and it didn’t fail. Mastering this kind of pacing isn’t easy and shows Adrian Tchaikovsky is a great writer.
I give Shards of the Earth four stars, as a novice science fiction reader, but I’m sure a lot of science fiction fans will enjoy this even more than I did.