Ace, Jun 2003, 24.95, 576 pp.
Light years ago, the Inhibitors feared intelligent species and built machines to stop any from developing. These killing machines traveled the universe to destroy intelligent life. Eons later, the machines must have failed as intelligent species have arisen including humans advancing throughout the cosmos.
Late in the twentieth-sixth century, the human crew of the Infinity learns why a sentient race suddenly vanished, but the crew also innocently rouse the Inhibitors. The death killing machines turn towards mankind for total annihilation. Planets are eradicated to tap into the raw material to build a doomsday destruction device never seen before by humanity. As humans compete and even kill one another to escape the coming genocide, only war criminal Clavain seems remotely capable of stopping what looks like human extinction.
Though there is a bit of the middle novel syndrome to REDEMPTION ARK, fans of hard core futuristic outer space action thrillers based on scientific theory will relish this Reynolds universe tale. The exciting story line picks up about fifty years after the events of REVELATION SPACE, but for the most part can stand on its own though reading the debut novel first is recommended. The key human characters are fully developed and make the audience believe that they the readers too are part of a doomed future because the Inhibitors seem so authentic. Those fans who want premium outer space adventure will peruse Alastair Reynolds's powerful two novels and its companion but independent tale, CHASM CITY, as well as some related short stories. This will have to satiate the audience until book three is released next year.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner