Tor, Mar 2002, 27.95, 479 pp.
Three decades have passed since the Great War left mankind on the brink of extinction. The devastating twenty-first century is a period of initial greatness throughout the solar system that turned deadly with weapons of mass destruction seemingly in use everywhere especially the biological ones on earth. Now that the century nears its end, humanity seems to have begun recovering especially in the Jupiter-Saturn region, but much more gradually on Earth where the Southern Hemisphere is starting to recuperate.
In 2097 on the moon Ganymede, Alex Ligon, son of a family of trading giants, has rebuilt the “seine” computer network. However, his program predicts humanity will become extinct in less than a hundred years. On the asteroids near Jupiter, SETI researcher Milly Wu believes she has received an alien communication. Rustum "Bat" Battachariya, who collects weapons from the Great War, follows rumors of a doomsday weapon. He consults with Milly and her SETI peers on her findings even as Alex tries to meet with him on a family matter. When Bat learns that earthling Sebastian contains strange nodules inside his head, he wonders what they are and what damage they can cause.
DARK AS DAY, the sequel to COLD AS ICE, is incredibly complex yet brilliantly entertaining as the deep story line traverses the solar system. The plot contains cleverly inspired enigmas and even smarter solutions that work at hyperspeed due to the believable ensemble. Though quite dark, humor eases the tale from going too deep into the abyss. Even with a powerful vivid story line, the authentic feel to characters make Charles Sheffield's cerebral dark futuristic tale a triumph for genre fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner