By Schism Rent Asunder
Tor, Jul 2008, $25.95
The military technology advances provided by android with a human brain Merlin Athrawes to King Cayleb II of Charis led to their naval slaughter of the forces of their neighbors sanctioned by the Church of God Awaiting at Darcos Sound and Armageddon Reef. Merlin hopes further victories against the corrupt beleaguered Church will ultimately allow mankind to soar off Safehold into space; currently banned by church doctrine as interfering with God’s way.
The nations who allied with the Church fear retaliation and know there is little they can do to prevent this since their fleets were destroyed. At the same time a stunned Church of God Awaiting considers declaring Charis as a heretic nation and demanding a holy war to be fought on land as the sea belongs to the renegade kingdom. Meanwhile Cayleb and his Archbishop consider making the religious schism official.
This great sequel (see OFF ARMAGEDDON REEF) has much less action than its exhilarating predecessor, but will be considered one of the best science fiction thrillers of the year. The key cast members seem fully developed, but what makes this superb thriller worth reading is how deep yet subtly the story line provides the audience with insight into how much the Renaissance changed the world.