I read and thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, The Backworlds, so wanted more. Read my review here.
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. Revenge is on Craze’s mind. He chews on it every day along with the relentless dust on Pardeep Station. He dreams of grander business and wealth, enough to make his father choke. That’s the dream consuming him when the interstellar portal opens, spitting out a ship that that should no longer exist. A battleship spoiling for a fight, yet the war with the Foreworlds ended two generations ago. The enemy takes over Craze’s tavern and aims their dastardly guns in his face. One wrong move and the shaky truce will end. So will Craze and his friends. Can he outwit them? He must, otherwise Craze and the Backworlds won’t survive.
So that’s the blurb. There is a divide between the Foreworlds, where the bulk of humanity can settle on planets more suitable to their physical requirements – and the Backworlds which are a lot more hostile and require significant bioengineering to make settlement on them possible. Craze ekes out a living running his own tavern on a dusty backwater – until he gets new customers… Pax’s characters are vivid and interesting – particularly Craze. He has changed from the hesitant, gauche youngster that we first met in The Backworlds. The intervening years have made him harder and a whole lot more suspicious – which is just as well, given the lethal nature of the latest visitors. The largely personal nature of the story so far suddenly expands to encompass a new slice of the world, which is interestingly layered and complex.
Because the story has jumped several years, it isn’t necessary to have read The Backworlds to understand exactly what is happening, although knowing Craze’s backstory certainly helped me to get immediately immersed in the action. Which is just as well, because once the adventure fully takes off, it doesn’t let up until the end. Once more, the story ends in an interesting place – meaning that I’m going to have to get the third book in the series…