Novel: Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald’s inventive, gripping Luna series continues in Luna: Wolf Moon (2017). On a future moon ruled by several dominating corporate families, a war is underway. Corta Helio, the “Fifth Dragon” family that rose to power by mastering Helium-3 energy production, has been betrayed and destroyed, its surviving members scattered across the satellite. The Cortas’ energy empire has been absorbed by its enemies, but the family’s fall has also destabilized lunar politics. To take advantage of this, Lucas Corta—who secretly survived the destruction of the Cortas’ headquarters—hatches a risky, long-shot scheme to return to power, propelling the lunar war into a new phase.

Luna: Wolf Moon continues McDonald’s complex, imaginative saga in fast-paced, highly addictive fashion. It charts engaging, emotionally charged paths for its surviving heroes, who struggle to make new lives for themselves in the aftermath of their traumatic fall from power—and then are dragged back into the intrigue and treachery of new lunar power struggles. This series resonates on the strength of its inventive world-building and complex political backdrop, which propel the characters into one exciting, nerve-wracking action setpiece after another. The novel does lack the eye-opening freshness of discovery from the establishing volume, but that’s to be expected from a sequel. That “failing” did nothing to dispel my enthusiasm to learn that a third volume is one the way. (I mistakenly thought this was a two-volume series, originally.) Highly recommended.

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