Another highly entertaining offering from Karl Drinkwater, ‘Grubane’ is the second instalment in the ‘Lost Tales of Solace’, the prequels to his ‘Lost Solace’ series. As with ‘Helene’, reviewed here, it can be read as a standalone tale, though I imagine once into the ‘Lost Solace’ series, proper, some semblance of reading order is probably best.
Being a bit of a gamer, myself, any book that discusses strategy, chess tactics or game theory is already on to a winner with me. The world building is solid, the writing and editing standard second-to-none. But it’s not a straightforward box-ticking exercise; alongside the Hard SF aspects, there is some true humanity in Drinkwater’s writing and, as before, I was delighted by the depth of the characterisation – especially that of the AI.
Sociology, politics, philosophy, ethics, religion, free will, duty; it’s a lot to pack into a novella, but Drinkwater manages it with ease.
I can see this series becoming a firm favourite, and very much look forward to continuing the journey.
Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.
His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.
But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.
Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?
I do not get paid for blog tours or giving my opinion, and this is my honest review.