Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Prefect- Alastair Reynolds

The Prefect
Alastair Reynolds
Ace, Jun 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9780441015917

Panoply Prefect Tom Dreyfus is a highly regarded law enforcement official whose beat is the Glitter Band habitats that surround Yellowstone planet. His superior Jane Aumonier assigns him to investigate the shocking destruction of Ruskin-Sartorious Bubble habitat that left over nine hundred dead in a mass murder attack. Tom understands the signifcance of the motive is not just to help identify the culprits, but to understand why so as to prevent more assaults on innocent people.

At the same time that Tom begins his inquiries into the horrific case, Deputy Field Prefect Thalia Ng works on programming to prevent fraudulent voting following an incident at the House Perigal in which six died. As Tom works his case and Thalia tests her patch, Jane is removed from duty at a time she is considered critical by field prefects. Tom believes an unknown person or group has put together a clever diabolical plot to take control of the entire Glitter Band.

The latest Revelation Space thriller is an excellent science fiction police procedural as Dreyfus is at his best uncovering a conspiratorial scheme one clue at a time. The story line is fast-paced as the Prefects investigate several goings-on besides the prime mass murder case; interestingly Alastair Reynolds cleverly uses the cases to provide some history and geography enough for newcomers to understand the Glitter Band and for long term fans not to be irritated. Although the conspirators remain for the most part behind the scenes so never flushed out beyond their objective, fans will appreciate this excellent whodunit in Outer Space.

Harriet Klausner

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