Friday, May 18, 2018

Dust (Jacob's Ladder #1), by Elizabeth Bear (author), Alma Cuervo (narrator)

Recorded Books, December 2008 (original publication 2007)

Jacob's Ladder is a generation ship, launched by an unusual religious cult, now stranded in orbit around a double star. After 500 years of drifting in orbit, the ship damaged and the the ship's AI fragmented into multiple units that have been dubbed Angels, the ship's population is divided into separate, rival populations in different parts of the ship. Rule and Engine are about to go to war. There's a struggle over who will be the new Commodore.

But the stars are heading toward going nova very soon, and the Angels, with a much better understanding of the ship's danger than the human population have, are engaged in their own struggle. They need to rejoin into a unified whole that can truly operate the somewhat-repaired ship, but each wants to be the dominant personality, too.

In the midst of all this, we meet Rien, a Mean, or servant, in Rule, and Perceval, a knight of of Engine.

What Rien doesn't know at first, but Perceval does, is that they are sisters, intentionally conceived to be hostages. When Perceval is captured during a clash between Rule and Engine, Rien is the one assigned to care for her in what are the last couple of days before Arianne, head of Rule, consumes the symbionts that will give her all of Perceval's knowledge and memories.

What follows is a wild adventure in which we, along with Rien, learn a great deal more about the world of Jacob's Ladder, the intentions of their founders, and the threats the ship faces. Rien, Perceval, their relatives, and the AIs all learn, grow, and face major choices and losses. It's an exciting, interesting, satisfying story.

It's the first of a trilogy, but this part of the story comes to a satisfying conclusion of its own, while leaving room for the arc of the rest of the trilogy.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.