Set in a post-war galactic civilisation, Embers of War delivers classic space opera action whilst feeling like a true 21st century novel.
The Trouble Dog is a sentient warship, now decommissioned and run by a skeleton crew of misfits. The war is over and it’s a time of reconciliation and redemption so these days the Trouble Dog is in the business is rescuing people, not killing them. The well-paced narrative focuses on a rescue mission which isn’t quite what it seems, and opens out into a story into whose large-scale sensawonder is worthy of an Iain M Banks Culture novel.
Most of the characters are human – the war in question was about humans fighting amongst themselves, as we so often do – although the alien crewmember on the Trouble Dog is truly alien, and at the same time engaging and likeable.
On the subject of viewpoint, the author has made the daring choice to use multiple first-person viewpoint characters. It took me a while to get into this, especially as a lot of the character voices are rather similar – the one that stood out best, and probably the character I liked best, was the Trouble Dog itself. However, I fond myself warming to this choice, eventually not noticing it beyond the unique feel it gives the story. And when it comes to a solid and gripping denouement, this book delivers.
I look forward to finding out where the story goes next…