I’m a sucker for a really cool spacescape on a book cover – and this offering shouted READ ME, so had to be plucked off the shelf. And I’m very glad I did…
Being the cop on the beat is never easy, especially in the 22nd century, where mankind has the capacity to reshuffle the heavens and humanity and even reality itself is a matter of opinion. Just ask Free Marshal Gain Chandry of the United Nations Law Enforcement Authority, who is about to take the wildest ride of his career – and maybe even his life.
Fresh from his latest assignment chasing smugglers, Chandry is handed the Cibola Project, The Johannesburg United Metals Combine is using the largest space vehicle ever built, the robotic mass driver tug MD-24, to move a gold ore-laced asteroid into near-Earth orbit. If the project succeeds, it could revolutionize cis-lunar industrial civilisation. If it fails, the resulting ecological catastrophe could be the greatest since the extinction of the dinosaur.
And someone wants Cibola to fail.
Is it a deep, multi-layered and meaningful treatise into the possible dangers that lie ahead of humanity? Nope. It’s a great, escapist romp written by an experienced author with an engaging protagonist, Gain Chandry. That said, there are some really nice touches. I think Cobb has managed to depict deep space mining more effectively than many other sci fi writers. I enjoyed his world and the characters – and as for the whodunit, I really didn’t see it coming. However, I wasn’t wasting too much time and energy trying to unravel the plot – Cobb’s fluid style whisks the story along at a good clip and I read it in one greedy gulp.
Like all enjoyable whodunits, as well as a good spread of suspects, Gain is part of a team – however, this being the 22nd century, his side-kick isn’t your average human companion… This cyber-buddy is a great wish-fulfilment. I want one, too! Someone who can subsume him/herself into any system with a plug and switch; someone who doesn’t need to breathe, or eat; someone who can keep you company and kiss it better when it all goes wrong…
Overall, this is great fun and my only sadness is that I cannot find any kind of sequel or follow-up to this entertaining offering. Hopefully, Cobb will see the error of his ways and provide Cibola with a follow-up book. Please??