Embers of War by Gareth L Powell

Disclaimer:  I know Gareth.  (Hi, Gareth!)

With the exception of Iain M Banks and Ken Macleod, space opera tends not to be my thing. But I greatly enjoyed Gareth’s last series (Ack Ack Macaque – go read it, but don’t blame me if you laugh loudly on the bus), plus I was at an event where Gareth read from Embers a while back, so I gave it a go.

Following a devastating war, a small crew (including a sentient warship) has joined the space equivalent of the Red Cross/coast guard and devoted themselves to doing good.  After a rescue that has gone disastrously wrong, they receive a distress call from a heavily populated civilian ship in a disputed solar system and take off immediately with a brand new crew member.

Meanwhile, a couple of spies fighting a dirt proxy war on an unimportant planet take an interest and hitch a lift.

When the Trouble Dog gets to the solar system, there are more questions than answers.

I couldn’t put this down.  There are multiple first-person narrators.  I’m told that everyone’s favourites are the ship and the very alien alien that is the ship’s engineer, but I also had a soft spot for Ashton Childe, the really inept spy.  There are Big Honkin’ Space Guns (thanks Stargate) but it’s really a book about people, their relationships and dealing with the aftermath of what they did in war.  Even the ship has PTSD, and a war criminal has turned poet.

You should definitely read this as soon as possible.

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