Ultimate Blog Tour - SHARDS OF EARTH by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Out of This World SFF is delighted to be taking part in the #UltimateBlogTour for SHARDS OF EARTH by Adrian Tchaikovsky.  This tour is presented & hosted by the amazing TheWriteReads along with Tor Books UK and Black Crow.  I'm excited to be one of the stops on this tour and to be included among so many fantastic blogs.  To start things off i'll be giving you a brief description of Adrian Tchaikovsky's latest SF space opera, followed by my official review and some further information on how to connect with the author and his books.  So without further delay, here is a brief synopsis of SHARDS OF EARTH:


Book Blurb
The war is over.   Its heroes forgotten.  Until one chance discovery...

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war.  And one of humanity's heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy.  Many escaped, but millions more died.  So mankind created enhanced humans such as Idris - who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors.  Then these 'Architects' simply disappeared and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space.  It's clearly the work of the Architects - but are they really returning?  And if so, why?  Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy as they search for answers.  For they now possess something of incalculable value, and many would kill to obtain it.


Review
Adrian Tchaikovsky has really moved up the ladder for me in the pantheon of great space opera writers.  In fact, only the legendary Iain M. Banks ranks above him in my hall of fame of SO authors.  But if he keeps writing books like Children of Time, Children of Ruin, and now SHARDS OF EARTH, Banks may be in some serious jeopardy of losing his #1 position.  It's also important to mention that Tchaikovsky is an immensely accomplished fantasy author as well.

The thing that I especially love about Adrian Tchaikovsky's books is he always injects a compelling mystery as the focal point of his stories.  So not only do you get the mind-blowing science and futuristic technology, but there's also an incredibly intriguing story that keeps you turning the pages to get to the heart of the central mystery.  Oh and he never disappoints when it comes to providing one heck of a stunning surprise or two along the way.

SHARDS OF EARTH involves a number of different players that contribute to the depth and beautiful complexity of the overall story.  You have humans who have been scattered after a decades old attack on Earth.  You also have bio-engineered super humans designed to communicate telepathically with the enigmatic enemy, The Architects, who seemingly appear and disappear without warning.  Not to mention other factions like nativists and the even more radical Betrayed, who believe only pure humans are superior and anyone else should be treated with the utmost suspicion and disdain.  So there's a lot going on here!

The book really kicks into high gear when a salvage vessel stumbles across something unthinkable floating in Unspace.  The discovery causes old fears and questions to arise that maybe the long dormant Architects have once again returned.  The ramifications of this possibility could be cataclysmic for what is left of humanity and their allies.  But for what reason and purpose have they come back, if indeed they have? This is where SHARDS OF EARTH goes from good to an absolutely breathtaking level and it had me utterly spellbound.

These are the coolest stories in my opinion, especially when it comes to SF.  I always find myself sucked into a book that engages me right off the bat with mysterious artifacts or some sort of alien species that eludes discovery but leaves subtle clues as to their origin.  It's why I love Jack McDevitt's books and others that explore similar themes.  Tchaikovsky has created a superb one here with The Architects, and the nuggets that he feeds you slowly builds the tension for what is to come, both in this book, and future ones to follow.

In addition to The Architects story angle, there is also a fascinating one dealing with political and social clashes with regard to the various factions that I mentioned at the beginning of the review.  Much of it stems from what happened to humans after The Architects attacked and how prejudices have gradually developed as a result.  It's a keen nod (whether it be intentional or not) to how radicalism can also creep in and poison our own society in today's world.

Just a quick warning, Tchaikovsky never spoon-feeds his readers.  There are a ton of high-concept ideas, intricate technology, and moments of real hard science here as well.  This isn't a light popcorn SF read by any stretch of the imagination.  So concentration (especially in the opening chapters) is essential for getting the most out of this book.  But if you do invest the time and attention required, I promise that you will be rewarded, as by the end I was astonished at how brilliantly everything came together and set things up for what should be an amazing sequel.

SHARDS OF EARTH is another outstanding space opera from a real master in Adrian Tchaikovsky.  I'm dejected that I don't have the next book in my hands, but I take heart in knowing that the groundwork has been laid for what could be an unforgettable landmark SF series.  I'm constantly amazed at how Tchaikovsky keeps churning out these mind-blowing epic stories in so short a time period.  The first book in The Final Architects series is just the latest sparkling jewel from an author with a firm grasp on his craft.  SF readers across the globe should gobble this one up with much delight.

Overall Rating:

SHARDS OF EARTH was released in the UK on May 27th.
It will be released in the U.S. on August 3rd and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.


About the Author
Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, and headed off to university in Reading to study psychology and zoology.  For reasons unclear even to himself, he subsequently ended up in law.  Adrian has since worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds with his wife and son.  Adrian is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor.  He has also trained in stage-fighting and keeps no exotic or dangerous pets of any kind - possibly excepting his son.

Adrian is the author of the critically-acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, the Echoes of the Fall series and other novels, novellas and short stories.  The Tiger and the Wolf won the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel - and Children of Time won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

You can connect with Adrian Tchaikovsky online via his Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

And that concludes my stop on TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour featuring Adrian Tchaikovsky's SHARDS OF EARTH!  I'd like to extend a sincere thank you to TheWriteReads, Tor UK, Black Crow PR and author Adrian Tchaikovsky.  There are so many fantastic blogs taking part in this tour, so be sure to check out all of their posts by searching the hashtags #UltimateBlogtour #ShardsOfEarth!

And as always, thank you all for visiting and supporting the blog, it is so appreciated.  Happy Reading!
-Nick

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