From Divergent Suns (book 3) by Sam Peters (book review)

April 9, 2019 | By | Reply More

After the tumultuous events of ‘From Darkest Skies’ and ‘From Distant Stars’, Agent Keon Rause of the Magenta police force is back in full swing, investigating a mysterious high-profile suicide. Working through the aftermath of discovering that his long-dead wife Alysha is actually alive, Agent Rause is attempting to get to the bottom of the on-going conspiracy that has kept them apart for six years. For good measure there’s also a stolen nuclear warhead, the threat of alien invasion and a mole somewhere in the Bureau. The non-stop suspense and action of the first two books continue unabated in this addictive and complex Science Fiction thriller.

Aside from the on-going investigations and conspiracies, some of the elements that pretty much stayed in the background of earlier books come to the fore in this volume. In ‘From Darkest Skies’ mention was made of the Masters, an alien race who reshaped Earth and transported thousands of unwilling colonists to distant worlds, including the heavy-gravity, perpetually rainy world of Magenta, before vanishing for the next century and a half. Now some of the fringe ‘Returner’ groups seem to be gaining credence as evidence emerges that the Masters may be about to put in another appearance. There’s a wonderful blend of science, politics and quackery to this, muddying the waters for Agent Rause and, for us the readers, as we try to work out what is true and how the plot’s many disparate threads are related.

There’s even more of a raw, emotional feel to this book than the previous volumes as Keon struggles to come to terms with the fact that his wife faked her death and left him grieving for six years. His co-workers have their own issues to face: the hippy-sounding Agent Bix whose fellow agent and lover died in the previous volume and Agent Paterson, with whom Keon lived for a while and who now feels betrayed. It makes for an intense ménage-a-trois situation, especially with the added ingredient of the AI ‘shell’ that Keon had constructed while away on Earth, an almost-perfect replica of his dead wife, whom he calls Liss. Slightly awkward now, Alysha turns out not to be dead. There’s a constant frisson between them as Keon realises the futility of Liss’ existence and realising she will only ever be second-best to the original Alysha.

The futuristic technology that suffuses their world is brilliantly utilised as Keon and Liss evade detection from the mystery conspirators and gradually come to realise that their opponent is much more dangerous than they previously thought. ‘From Divergent Stars’ has been labelled as the final book in the trilogy and in many ways it wraps up some of the ongoing themes of the other two books. There are still plenty of mysteries left though and characters left to continue their shattered lives. I’d like to think that Sam Peters will be taking us back to the inhospitable world of Magenta once more.

Gareth D Jones

April 2019

(pub: Gollancz. 447 page enlarged paperback. Price: £18.99 (UK), $24.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-473-21481-1)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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