These Burning Stars

Orbit. (Kindom Trilogy, Bk. 1). Oct. 2023. 464p. ISBN 9780316463324. pap. $19.99. SF
DEBUT In another time and galaxy, there is the Treble, ruled by the Kindom and the first families who settled on the planets after arriving on their generation ships. The Kindom asserts its rule through its righteous clerics, clever secretaries, and brutal cloaksaan. The capricious Esek Nightfoot is both a cleric and a member of a powerful first family that manufactures fuel for spaceships and jump gates. The Nightfoots developed synthetic fuel after exhausting the original jevite mines on the Jeveni moon, which was eventually destroyed, along with many of its residents. Now the Kindom sends Esek and her former novitiate Chono on a mission to retrieve a memory coin that may implicate the Nightfoots in the Jeveni genocide. This leads Esek and Chono to a ship of space pirates and a brilliant hacker, and all the while Esek is hunting the mysterious Six, who also threatens the Nightfoot empire. The protagonists are carefully crafted, with their layers slowly built to impressive complexity. This buildup pays off as the chase escalates across planets and comes to a stunning conclusion on one of the original generation ships.
VERDICT Full of political intrigue and impressive worldbuilding, Jacobs’s superb debut launches this space opera trilogy.
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