Roc Feb 2002, 6.99, 416 pp.
In the far distant future, wealth and power is concentrated in a few families who use their money to buy and shape whole planets according to their whims. Andrei Mironenko has opened the planet Belarus to colonization and he intends to be the czar of the new and improved Russia before the Bolshevik revolution destroyed the nation.
Andrei has no time to enjoy his dream because his kingdom is beset from without and within. The republic is falling into chaos, with each planet going its own way. With no central government and therefore no trading, the way of life deteriorates. On a smaller, but no less devastating note a super serial killer is on the loose and he always seems to stay one step ahead of the authorities. Andrei is determined that no matters what happens to him or the rest of galaxy, Belarus will go on. This means another war with the planet's former occupants who went into hiding.
BELARUS is an entertaining work that will attract readers who like cutting edge speculative fiction. The different life forms that author Lee Hogan describes so vividly feel very real and believable. There is plenty of action in this novel but it is the characters that make this book several steps above the mundane.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner