The Sky Road
Centuries after the catastrophic Deliverance, humanity is again reaching into space. And Clovis, a young scholar working in the spaceship-construction yard, could make the difference between success and failure. For his mysterious new lover, Merrial, has seduced him into the idea of extrapolating the ship’s future from the dark archives of the past.
A past in which, centuries before, Myra Godwin faced the end of a different space age—her rockets redundant, her people rebellious, and her borders defenseless against the Sino-Soviet Union. As Myra appealed to the crumbling West for help, she found history turning on her own strange past—and on the terrible decisions she faces now.
Decisions which, centuries later, will determine the direction of the new space age. Merrial’s people, the mysterious “tinkers,” know this. And they know that the truth lies in the secret files left by Myra Godwin.
In the series that started with The Star Fraction, Ken MacLeod has created a future history whose genesis was an argument about anarchism between a group of left-wing students in the ‘70s. The destruction and renaissance of civilization, here and elsewhere in the human galaxy, turns on this argument. In the fourth book, MacLeod productively fills in some of the gaps. This is the story of Myra, Trot-turned-entrepreneur, whose nuclear deterrence-for-hire is central to the event known by some as the Fall and others as the Deliverance. It is also the story of young Clovis, part-time worker in the yard where the first space-ship in centuries is being built, part-time scholar trying to find out what Myra the Deliverer was really like.
MacLeod’s readers are used to his quirky and intelligent take on the world of power politics and his charmingly cynical gift for engaging and engaged protagonists. What this book also has is a profound sense of the beauty of a simpler and stiller world; MacLeod’s real gift is his capacity to see all sides of a question, even when he is sure of the answer. —Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk