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Heaven's War
by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt
Ace, $25.95, 433pp
Release Date: July 3, 2012
This is the second of a trilogy.  This is hard SF with nary a fairy or vampire in sight.  The earth had been approached by an unidentified object, named Keanu, and the few nations still engaged in a ‘space race’ were eager to investigate it for resources.  The US rerouted a vehicle to land but they were in a race with a similar vehicle launched by India . It was discovered that Keanu was a spaceship. The teams consolidated their resources when things went badly.  One astronaut was killed by an alien, was resurrected by Keanu, and badly frightened another astronaut who happened to be holding a suitcase nuke.  Once the nuke detonated, Keanu reacted by blasting both mission control centers and ‘scooping up’ everyone and everything in the immediate area for transport to Keanu.

The almost 200 humans inside Keanu include the lead American astronaut, his daughter, the son of the lead Indian astronaut, and most of the American mission control staff.  There is also the resurrected nine-year-old Brazilian girl who is becoming increasingly strange.  And a resurrected Golden Lab Retriever.  The resurrectees’ purpose is to provide a liaison between their race and Keanu’s Architect.  Besides the problems of survival, there is also the issue of Keanu leaving our solar system.  The Architect had made it clear that there was a danger and humans were needed to combat it.

Much time has passed since the first book and the humans struggle each day for enough food and ways to combat boredom.  Some of the engineers are finally understanding the alien technology so that food and other resources are within reach.  Zach, the lead American astronaut, sets off to investigate part of their habitat at the same time his daughter, Rachel, and Pav, the son of the Indian astronaut, begin following the dog on their own adventure.  Zach and his team end up ‘down the rabbit hole’ as they have to navigate across the outside of Keanu and back down into a different habitat in search of allies and a way to gain control of Keanu.  Along the way, they discover evidence that another race had landed a craft on Keanu, apparently many millennium ago.  They also hook up with an alien who was a prisoner of his own people and meet yet another alien race residing inside Keanu who hold the key to gaining control of the spaceship.  Rachel and Pav, meantime, run into another resurrected astronaut – Yvonne, who was holding the suitcase nuke when it went off.  Together, Yvonne takes them to the Architect who has something rather important to show them – the doom of all living things in the universe.

Meanwhile, back in the human habitat, they’ve discovered a peculiar bug that seems to be infesting their living space.  And there doesn’t seem to be any way to kill it.  It finally comes down to a race to the control room between Zach and his new allies and the bugs.  The outcome was not what I expected; nor was the ending of this book.  And the next book is to be titled “Heaven’s Fall” which is not a comforting title.

This was a very well-plotted story.  The characterizations were adequate without distracting from the story. The timing was okay, not too slow, not fast.  If you’re looking for a breathless ride, this isn’t that. It was a very satisfying tale and I look forward to the conclusion. ~~ Catherine Book

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