Ace, April 2002, 23.95, 528 pp.
In the twenty-sixth century, mankind may have conquered the stars and found the secret to immortality but it hasn't been able to eliminate war. Since humanity colonized Sky's Edge there has always been war and arm merchants like Cahuella, who sell munitions to both sides have become rich men. Tanner Mirabel, former soldier and mercenary, is now a security consultant to Cahuella. When an ambush in the jungle kills his employer's wife, Tanner vows to avenge their death.
He knows the man who was behind the killing is a rich aristocrat whose family was killed by ammunition Cahuella sold to the enemy. Tanner's search leads him across the galaxy to CHASM CITY on the planet Yellowstone, a place decimated by the nano-technological Melding Plague that changed the political and social structure of that world. In the course of hunting down his prey, Tanner has many life threatening adventures and discovers things about himself that are extremely shocking to him.
CHASM CITY is a space opera at its fantastic best. The story line is so intriguing that the audience will want to read all 528 pages in one sitting. Tanner, the flawed anti-hero, is likable despite the fact that when he gets into mercenary mode, he has no compunction about killing people. If this novel is any indication of his talent, Alastair Reynolds will attain the skies of Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner