This Week's Review Of. . .
Be Afraid . . . Be Very Afraid!
In this, the second book of the Sun Eater Sequence, Hadrian Marlowe’s life begins to spiral out of control. Seeing what happened to him in Empire of Silence, that’s saying something.
Here’s the blurb for Howling Dark:
Marlowe is lost.
For half a century, he has searched the farther suns for the lost planet of Vorgossos, hoping to discover a way to contact the elusive alien Cielcin. He has pursued false leads for years among the barbarian Normans as captain of a band of mercenaries, but Hadrian remains determined to make peace and bring an end to nearly four hundred years of war.
Desperate to find answers, Hadrian must venture beyond the security of the Sollan Empire and among the Extrasolarians who dwell between the stars. There, he will face not only the aliens he has come to offer peace, but contend with creatures that once were human, with traitors in his midst, and with a meeting that will bring him face to face with no less than the oldest enemy of mankind.
If he succeeds, he will usher in a peace unlike any in recorded history. If he fails, the galaxy will burn.
Hadrian Marlowe wakes from cryo-sleep to find himself light-years further away from the Empire’s clutches, and one step closer to discovering the location of elusive Vorgossos. And therein lies the rub. On every occasion he thinks he’s gained vital information, he discovers those clues to be nothing but smokescreens and illusions that do nothing but lead him along divergent paths.
However, those trials and tribulations serve another, just as important purpose. They notify ‘strange & terrifying powers’ of Hadrian’s existence. Drawn into a web of dread and shocking potential, Hadrian Marlowe is beset by doubts and indecision. Yet he is matured by his experiences. So much so, that when hard decisions have to be made, he isn’t slow in stepping up.
The thing is, stepping up puts him directly in harm’s way. And in this adventure, Hadrian Marlowe is ever beset by the potential for great harm. From the Empire, who view him as an embarrassment to be silenced; from the Cielcin, who, despite his earnest desire for peace, look on all humans as chaff to be reaped; from long-dead legends who have no right to be alive; from diabolical nightmares who have never known the fragility of flesh and blood; and even from his closest friends.
Yes, death is Hadrian Marlowe’s closest friend. And it’s astonishing how things work out for him when that specter comes-a-calling, for ‘something’ has Hadrian in its cosmos-spanning eye, and he has a task to accomplish before it’s/they’re done with him.
As I mentioned in my review of Empire of Silence, this awesomely epic space opera portrays the scope of Frank Herbert’s, Dune; The scale of Arthur C. Clarkes, 2001: A Space Odyssey; and the poignant message conveyed in Barry B. Longyear’s, Enemy Mine.
It’s magnificent stuff, is better than the first book, and will keep you engrossed from beginning to end.
Bravo, Christopher Ruocchio. Bravo indeed!