Far From The Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson

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The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years to bring one thousand sleeping souls to a new home among the stars. But when first mate Michelle Campion rouses, she discovers some of the sleepers will never wake.

Answering Campion’s distress call, investigator Rasheed Fin is tasked with finding out who is responsible for these deaths. Soon a sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel, one that will have repercussions for the entire system—from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet Bloodroot, to other far-flung systems, and indeed to Earth itself.

It’s been a little while since I delved into a really good science fiction tale, and I really enjoyed Far From The Light of Heaven. In fact I enjoyed it so much I polished it off in a couple of sittings. It’s got everything I love in a story – great characters, interesting setting and a really intriguing story.

Far From The Light of Heaven revolves around a locked-room mystery (and who doesn’t love one of those?). The colony ship Ragtime has set off from Earth with a thousand passengers en route to the planet Bloodroot, in the Lagos system. It jumped through several interstellar gates to get there, and the ship is fully automated, with a sole human crewmember on board, just in case anything goes wrong.

Nothing ever goes wrong. Ever.

Until now.

The Ragtime arrives at its destination and wakes Shell up from her ten year dreamstate sleep. The ship AI isn’t responding as it should, and before long Shell realises that there is something very very wrong. There are some passengers missing, and a wolf roaming the corridors of the ship…

I loved this book. There’s a real sense of claustrophobia and danger aboard the Ragtime. The AI is unpredictable, the ship’s bots are even more so, and only Shell has any sort of control. Then the arrival of Fin to investigate what’s going on throws another spanner into the mix. Who killed the missing passengers? Why is there a wolf on board?

The tension ratchets up nicely, with both Shell and Fin trying to figure out what’s going on against the backdrop of a rogue ship AI trying it’s darndest to stop them. Throw in some interesting aliens and some political shenanigans and you’ve got a splendid scifi mystery.

Highly recommended.

Far From The Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson is published by Orbit Books and is out now. Huge thanks to Nazia Khatun and Orbit Books for sending me an advance copy to review. Opinions are, as ever, my own.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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