On a desert planet, two boys meet, sparking a friendship that will change human society forever.
On the windswept world of Bleak, a string of murders lead a writer to a story with unbelievable ramifications.
One man survives the vicious attacks, but is left with a morbid fascination with death; the perfect candidate for the perilous job of working on a rig.
Welcome to the System. Here the concept of a god has been abandoned, and a new faith pervades: AfterLife, a social media platform that allows subscribers a chance at resurrection, based on the votes of other users.
So many Lives, forever interlinked, and one structure at the centre of it all: the rig.
"An epic tale that weaves the lives of two extraordinary boys with that of a peace officer, a loner techfixer who survives a brutal attack, and a writer of TruTales. One boy was born on a fundamentalist planet in a corner of the system of planets populated by a diaspora of people who escaped from a failed Earth. The other boy was brought there to be kept safe from a broader universe. The TruTales writer is given the assignment to write about the peace officer and the fixer. The fixer lands a job on the rig that would connect all of their lives from across the system. British author Levy (Icarus, 2006) connects these seemingly unrelated lives while examining the concepts of good and evil, trust and betrayal, and personal loyalty in a variety of contexts, along with the ways humans connect with one another, even without knowing many details about each other. Fans of space epics will appreciate the plans within plans and individual stories that come together and fundamentally change the society in which the characters live.--Miltner, Terrence Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Levy's first novel since 2006's Icarus is an unsatisfying dystopian revisit of the author's career themes: the use and misuse of technology, colonization, and the toxic persistence of the Christian worldview. Narratively, it's a sophisticated interweaving of four voices. Alef is in rigor vitae, or "rv"-preserved at the moment of death. His memory speaks in the first person through software called AfterLife. He's a computer savant and mnemonist; the slow unfolding of his lifelong entanglement in organized crime is the backbone of the plot. The three other protagonists are located on the oceanic planet Bleak, where rv sarcophagi float amid mysterious rigs: Tallen is recovering from an apparently random knife attack, Razer is a drifter who writes "TruTales" posted on AfterLife, and Bale is an enforcer whose story Razer is pursuing. Tallen's near-murder brings the three together into a mix of thriller and sociology text that will engage fans of hard-SF worldbuilding. Characterization and culture, however, are not Levy's strengths. Razer is a barely disguised porn star, emblematic of the Madonna/whore simplification of all the female characters. Colonization of the planetary system was undertaken by "Asia, Greater Europe, and America": southern latitudes simply didn't make the cut. This confusing mix of elements doesn't live up to its conceptual promise. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."