Previously, I have enjoyed the ‘Circuit’ series by Rhett C. Bruno. When I heard he had a new novel, ‘Titanborn’, and that it was ‘detectives in space’, I was pretty excited.
Once again, Bruno gives us a post-apocalyptic future. On the surface, this one is far less bleak. Centuries before, a meteorite strike changed the course of history by pushing humanity toward extinction. Ever resourceful, humanity pushed back and out into the solar system. Earth is still a thriving concern with all infrastructure designed to withstand another meteor strike. The rest of the solar system is an ever evolving social experiment, much of it under the control of two corporate entities.
Malcolm Graves is a collector, a problem solver working for one of these two entities. He’s good at what he does. Thirty years in the same job says so. He does what’s asked, takes his pay and waits for the next call, until an error in judgement screws up the tail end of his last job. The casualty list is higher than it should be and Graves is told to take a vacation. A terrorist attack interrupts his leisure time, drawing Graves into a new assignment that will not only test his resolve and judgement but have him questioning the structure of the society he is an integral part of.
I really enjoyed experiencing this world through the eyes of an older, somewhat cynical character. Graves has enough life experience not to be a fool but he has definite blind spots, which makes him a very engaging protagonist. He also has all the skills you’d expect from a futuristic, space-faring detective and, through these, Bruno does a great job of introducing the reader to his world.
Grave’s partner, the enigmatic Zhaff, exposes one of the blind spots rather quickly, Grave’s tendency not to ask questions. There is a lot he doesn’t know. You do have to wonder if Graves wasn’t asking on purpose, though, because as his backstory is revealed, it seems there is a lot he would rather not know, including what happened to his daughter.
As with Bruno’s other novels, ‘Titanborn’ begins and ends with percussively. There is no gentle lead in to this world; no great dump of information the author thinks you’ll need to navigate the story. You’re just there, figuring it out with everyone else. Bruno’s characterisation and storytelling pull you along effortlessly, however. At no point was I lost and the only questions I ever asked were the same as those being posed by Malcolm Graves.
The interwoven backstory is fascinating and adds a lot of depth to Grave’s character and the plot. I admire Bruno’s skill in weaving both stories together in a believable manner. My only quibble with the book is the ending which I can’t discuss, of course. It’s explosive, in many senses of the word, and will leave you hanging! There’s also an unforeseen wrinkle. I didn’t see it coming, anyway.
‘Titanborn’ begins a story that begs for more time. Hopefully we’ll see a sequel or sequels. I’m looking forward to further adventures in this future.
(pub: Hydra/Random House, June 21, 2016. 209 page ebook. Price: $2.99 (US), £1.96 (UK). ASIN: B018CHA2RI)
checkout websites: www.randomhousebooks.com/hydra/ and http://rhettbruno.com/
Please note, Rhett Bruno has bought back the rights of his book which is now also available since 05 Feb 2019 from new publisher Aethon Books and under this link: www.amazon.com/Titanborn-Children-Titan-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07MK2BH6J