Sci-fi author Rhett C. Bruno impressed me with his debut novel, the space opera The Circuit: Executor Rising and the sequel Progeny Of Vale, so when he announced a new novel on the way, this time through Random House’s Hydra imprint, I was delighted to nab an ARC.
In the distant future, man has moved to the outer planets after a catastrophic meteor impact on Earth three hundred years previously. Many settled on Titan, with the new atmosphere and conditions gradually changing the settlers over time. Now known as Ringers, they eke out an existence on Titan, treated as second class citizens.
Malcolm Graves is a collector, a bounty hunter of sorts, paid to do the bidding of a large corporation, who finds himself embroiled in a bitter struggle when, while visiting Earth terrorists bomb a commemoration of M-Day, the day the meteorite struck.
Called back to duty and paired with a strange new partner, Zhaff, he must find answers, but is he ready for the real answers?
Titanborn is fast-paced, giving little time for dallying, save some back story concerning Malcolm’s estranged daughter and as the plot develops, we are given enough insight into his character to take his side, even though he may not be the most appropriate hero, given his past actions.
There’s an interesting dynamic between Zhaff and Malcolm, which although introduced fairly late in the story gives them just enough time together to fall short of being a typical “buddy” relationship, but there is plenty of interaction between them to keep the plot buoyant enough to reach the shocking conclusion.
The back drop is well crafted and believable, with Bruno once again displaying his considerable world building skills, and there are important themes explored throughout, making this not only an entertaining, but thought provoking read. There are noir-ish shades of some of Philip K. Dick’s works which add a lot of atmosphere and mystery, and enough tense action sequences to keep the reader hooked.