Through Fire, Book 4 in Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship series, came out last month and I bought it immediately, but despite its can’t-put-it-down action, I had to put it down until this week.
It’s a fine entry in the series, plunging us into action on the Seacity Liberté, which unlike the last book in the series I read, A Few Good Men (review here) is dominated by French cultural influences, with the rebellion set in motion in the first scene modeled on the French Revolution and its Terror.
The book is set on Earth hundreds of years from now, after war and nanoplagues have devastated continental civilization. Genetically-engineered Good Men run the world as a feudal dictatorship from Seacities established as refuges. Simon St. Cyr, the Good Man of his Seacity Liberté, is hosting visitor Zen Sienna, a bioenhanced woman from the space habitat where genengineered refugees fled to escape persecution. She has fled her own people after the trauma of sacrificing her own husband to evade capture in a previous book. The rebels who take control of the city are out to guillotine the genetically-enhanced, and so both Zen and the Good Man’s retainers are on the chopping block of revolt. The USAians of A Few Good Men are less important to this story, though they do appear in force to help fight the rebels and assist in the final defense of Liberté from the forces of the Good Men.
Simon, insulated from the real world by his status as a Good Man and ruler, is contrasted with his security man Alexis, a rough-hewn hulk who has been a rebel betrayed by his fellows and saved by Simon, now in Simon’s service. Or is he? The book opens with an attack on Simon’s palace, and Alexis is given the duty to get Zen away from the scene and safe. Much as in A Few Good Men, a subtle romance begins as Zen and Alexis fight their way to safety and return to rescue Simon and hold off both a French-style revolution and an attack from the remaining Good Men.
Hoyt’s writing is smooth and serves the adventure story well. The story is told in first person from Zen’s point of view, and there are a few places where the dialog is overlong to fill her in on matters she (and the reader) needs to know to make sense of the different factions, but Hoyt keeps the story moving fast enough. Swashbuckling and understated romance combine in a tale to satisfy all audiences.
Now that I’ve enjoyed #3 and #4, I need to go back and read the first two!