Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Title: Shards of Earth
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, Tor
Published Date: May 27th 2021
Length: 592 pages
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction,
The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.
It has been a while since I picked up a book by Tchaikovsky. I think the last time was back when Children of Time came out? I think? In any case, it was high time, I actually read something by this author because I still remember being amazed by Children of Time and how amazing it was. So, it was with slightly high expectations I was going into the book and it delivered and then some. I mean, it’s not the most original trope but the way everything was plotted made this an absolutely brilliant ride for me.
This is a multi- POV book that starts with a bang. Truly. We have humans scattered across the universe because something called the Architects came and made the earth unlivable and it was only through sheer luck that the humans survived to the point where there are multiple factions now that are oftentimes on the opposing sides. The one thing about this book and this author that I really love is that while providing a good story and tight pacing, there’s so much science and technology that could be, the whole thing makes the immersion all the more real.
So, the story starts to pack even more of a punch when a salvage ship comes across something in the Unspace. It might be an indication of the Architects coming back and if it is, the scattered humanity might once again be in danger. A danger they still have no idea how to face or defeat. I am a sucker for mysterious alien artifacts or some long forgotten civilization artifacts being found and this book ticked off that box too. We don’t get too much information about the Architects but there’s crumbs scattered throughout the book and it’s enough for me to know that we’ll most likely get more information as the series progresses.
There’s enough political intrigue to keep those who are interested in such things thoroughly entertained too. There are a lot of factions and some of them are about being ‘pure’ humans and not so humans so it is probably relatable on some level seeing as our world has problems of the same scale. I really enjoy reading about people and how thoroughly predictable they can be no matter what setting they are in. This is not the book to ease you into science fiction though, I think. It has too many technical terms and such but if you are not afraid of trying to understand things, this is a great book. It also feels very much like the author is just setting the stage for more explosive things to happen in the later books even though this book has plenty of explosive things happening. So, don’t be afraid to pick it up if you want an adventure in space with a wide scale.