Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ARC Review: The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asaro

The Bronze Skies
Author: Catherine Asaro
Series: Skolian Empire (Book 8)
Publication: Baen (September 5, 2017)

Description: TOUGH FEMALE P.I. EXPLORING THE UNDERWORLD OF A VAST STAR EMPIRE. Book two in a new series set in the world of Catherine Asaro's Skolian Empire series.

Major Bhaajan achieved the impossible. Born to the Undercity, the slums below the City of Cries on the planet Raylicon, she broke free from crushing poverty and crime to become a military officer with Imperial Space Command. Now retired from military duty, she walks the mean streets of Undercity as a private investigator. And she is about to embark on her most challenging case yet.

Summoned by no less than the Ruby Pharaoh herself, Major Bhaajan is tasked with finding a killer. But this is no ordinary murderer. The Ruby Pharaoh witnessed a Jagernaut cut down Assembly Councilor Tap Benton—which shouldn’t have been possible. The Jagernauts are the elite of the elite soldiers in the Imperial Space Command. What’s more, the spinal node implanted in all Jagernauts should have prevented the murder. But the Ruby Pharaoh is sure of what she saw, and she has reason to believe that the Jagernaut will kill again.

Now, Major Bhaajan must hunt down a killer before it is too late. To do so, she must return to the one place on Raylicon she knows best: Undercity.

My Thoughts: Major Bhaajan has a new case and the stakes couldn't be higher. A Jagernaut killed a man with the Ruby Pharoah as a witness. This is almost an impossible crime because the Jagernauts have EI (Evolving Intelligence) nodes in their spine which should prevent that. Now the Jagernaut has run to the Undercity and no one knows the Undercity better than Bhaaj.

The fact that many of the citizens of the Undercity are psions has brought them to the attention of the City of Cries above but when they go looking for them, they are not able to find any. Bhaaj knows that the people in the Undercity have their own language and culture and, though they live in crushing poverty, they aren't interested in the charity of those above. She needs to find a bridge between the two cultures that could at least relieve the poverty and provide adequate health care since many of those Undercity have birth defects because of in-breeding.

This is a complex story with lots happening. Searching for the missing Jagernaut leads Bhaaj to many secrets about her world, her culture, and herself. Fans of the rest of Asaro's work will be eager to read this episode which takes place earlier in time than most of the rest of the books. This is also hard science fiction with lots of physics but with a very human focus in the main character Bhaaj.

Favorite Quote:
I sat sprawled on the tastefully luxuriant sofa in the tastefully spacious living room of the tastefully exorbitant skyscraper where the Majdas had set me up. It just oozed taste.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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