Another cracking science-fiction tale from Alastair Reynolds. author of the excellent Revelation Space series. This is a novel of space and time travel, adventure and mystery and a bit of a detective story...
When an archaeological trip to the frozen city of Paris on an Earth devasted by the Nanocaust goes wrong and a team member dies, Verity Auger is forced to take part in a dangerous mission to redeem herself.
While exploring on Phobos, one of Mars' moons, a buried portal is discovered that leads into an uncharted region of the Hyperweb, an unstable alien transit system. The portal leads to an astonishing discovery - Earth during the mid-twentieth century, but this Earth is different because World War II never happened!
Verity is tasked with entering the alternate city of Paris in 1959 and retrieving the lost documents of a murdered spy. A simple enough task for someone of her advanced civilization you might think but there are factions at work that seek to destroy this alternate world and would rather she failed. On top of that she has to contend with a struggling Parisienne detective's attempts to solve his one final case.
I really enjoyed this one. Fans of Revelation Space and its sequels should note that, despite the cover artwork, this story is not related in any way. That aside, it's an excellent story with a fair mix of action, adventure, mystery, romance and good old science-fiction. The characters are well developed and believable and the plot trots along at a reasonable pace with some pretty good twists and turns to keep you guessing as to the outcome.
It's pretty much a stand-alone story and, while there are no familiar faces or names here, it's left in such a way that perhaps a few of those here might come back and see us in a sequel.
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Science-Fiction
My Rating: 8/10