Dark State by Charles Stross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review
Picking right up where Empire Games left off, Rita the world-walker is back in her home America. Her handlers are slightly disturbed that she was picked up so quickly and the message that she has returned with has allsorts of ominous overtones. The politics of that country are beginning to crack as the health of the leader reaches a certain point, and Miriam Burgeson sees that there might be an opportunity to get a high-profile defector on her side and diffuse the situation.
After an intense debriefing and an all to short reunion with her lover, Rita is sent back into the other America to begin negotiations with Miriam; to be wrong-footed totally as she reveals that she is Rita's mother. Another group from Rita's world have discovered another timeline with what looks to be the remains of another civilisation. Quite an advanced civilisation too, but their presence there has been noticed by the very thing that destroyed who was there before.
To say this is fast-paced would be an understatement, I crashed through this in very little time at all, so much so that I almost went flying past the cliffhanger(s) at the end of the book. He neatly tied up some of the threads up from Empire Games but has blown the whole lot open now for the third book. The multiple plots duck and dive and intertwine making this sharp and spikey mash-up of a sci-fi and espionage thriller a great read. Stross has added a political dimension to it too with the interplay between the states in Miriam's world, and the manoeuvring that is taking place in Rita's world. The third is looking like it is going to be great.
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