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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Station Zero
Philip Reeve
Progress: 220/282 pages
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 749/997 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 152/544 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages

Revenger, Alistair Reynolds

Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

Reynolds reverts to form in many respects with this tale of the distant future where humans plunder dangerous abandoned facilities for forgotten technologies and artefacts using solar wind powered spacecraft.


Gothic horror, morally questionable characters and body modification all make a come-back. Mysteries galore never went away, of course; most of them are explained and the inevitable revelation of deeper ones at the end is all present and correct. The story itself becomes gripping much faster than is usual with Reynolds, where one can normally expect the first third to travel along with very little momentum. In this case a dramatic and unexpected event kicks things into high gear pretty early on and the pace never really lets up from there. Unfortunately some of the revelations are telegraphed although others are total surprises.


One fine aspect of the novel is that the situation humanity finds itself in is not explicated by huge wodges of exposition but instead revealed slowly through the course of events - and where events don't illuminate, things remain obscure. A huge part of the fun here is figuring things out from the clues. Not everything is crystal clear by the end, which leaves scope for further work in the setting - something I'd be happy to see even if a direct sequel is, on past form, unlikely.