Copyright 2002 by
I first read this on the 26th January 2003.
The starship "Bright Star" has travelled the five light years from
Mingulay to Croatan in the neighbouring star system. This is a
momentous arrival because this is the first starship built by and
navigated by humans.
On board the ship are Gregor and Matt Cairns, Elizabeth Harkness and
the Saur, Salasso.
The trip to Croatan was simply to test the starship. Their next
trip is to the asteroid belt, to talk to one of the asteroid 'gods'
inhabiting the Croatan system.
They want to know why mankind and early Earth races like the Kraken
or the Saurs, were abducted from Earth and brought to these new
This is the second book in the Engines Of Light trilogy, of which the
first was the excellent "Cosmonaut Keep".
"Cosmonaut Keep", the first in the series is the more interesting
stylistically, with the two narrative threads, one set in the future
on another world, and the other set in a superbly-delineated Scotland of the 2040s, a Scotland under
the European Union Socialist Republic. This second thread with its astonishingly
realistic imagery, adds depth to the novel.
In "Dark Light", there's
a single timeline along which the variety of characters jounce and
jolt along. Sadly, the characters of Matt and Elizabeth
are just shadows of what they were in the first novel.
Even so it was an enjoyable read, and it's a promising series, but
this book is lightweight. The introduction of the intriguing
Stone and the people of the Great Vale suggest a rather different
novel was in the offing. It was disconcerting to see Stone's demotion from primary protagonist
at the start of the novel to minor character at the end.
With Stone and Slow Leg, Macleod manages a higher intensity and
quality. Had he maintained this throughout the novel it
would have been an excellent book, better than "Cosmonaut Keep", but he
didn't. "Dark Light" serves simply as a filler while we await
"Engine City" (and I hope it's worth the wait).
Haven't puzzled out why it was entitled Dark Light.
Loaded on the 31st January 2003.