I heard that some people says that this book is “the Sopranos on the moon” and even if I have never seen the show, I think they’re right.
Let me tell you why.
This book is set in the near future where the Moon is colonized by humans and own by the LDC, the Lunar Developping Company and where life is ruled by the Four Elementals : water, air, carbon and data.
The story follows the Corta family, one of the Five Dragons : the five most powerful families on the Moon. They are known for their wealth and their life are closely watched by all the inhabitants of the planet.
The head of the family is Adriana Corta, the founder of Corta Helio, a helium-3 mining company. The book follows her story and the ones of her childrens and grandchildrens. Her family is at a turning point, Adriana is at the edge of death and she had to create a succession to her business. Of course, the succession in itself is going to create rivalries between the different siblings. However the main conflict is with the others Dragons, especially with the Mackensies, another huge mining company.
The thing is, on the Moon, the only law is the law of money. Indeed, there is no criminal law, the only things that truly matters are contracts based on money which creates a weird justice system and a very flawed notion of justice. On the Moon, you can settle your problems by a trial by combat, on first blood… or worse.
Ian McDonald creates a really libertarian world and shows how humans could adapt in a world without law and where the only power comes from money. And it’s not pretty.
The multi generations was very well done because of all the descendants of Adriana (she has five children and three grandchildren) the cast of characters was pretty big, however the story telling was very well balanced. I felt like I knew everyone and why they were the way they were, and for 400 pages book, it is pretty remarkable. Also the family dynamic was really interesting especially all the different conflicts between the siblings. This book was the perfect balance of plot and character development.
Another element that I really enjoyed was how the technolgies were integrated to the story, it was not a hard SF book but the science was sufficiently explained so that we could visualized the world and the different technologies.
I can’t wait for the second book in this duology.
If you like family drama tyes of book and that you are intrigued by the fact that it’s on the Moon, please go grab a copy, you won’t be disappointed !
Rating : ★★★★ 1/2
I received this book from Orion Publishing Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.