Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.
While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner the enigmatic Ivan may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities most relentless surveillance and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.
As the ship s systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner s layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan s mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever if it doesn t kill her first.
Praise for Lightless
Gripping . . . sci-fi flavored with a hint of thriller. New York Daily News
A] measured, lovely science-fiction debut that is] more psychological thriller . . . contained, disciplined, tense . . . The plot is compulsive. . . . Lightless is the first of a planned series, and you can t help looking forward to learning what s next. The New York Times
Lightless is full of suspense and fun as hell to read. BuzzFeed
Absolutely brilliant . . . This is science fiction as it is meant to be done: scientific concepts wedded to and built upon human ideals. Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the October Daye series
The stakes in this story are high life and death, rebellion and betrayal and debut novelist Higgins continually ratchets up the tension. . . . A suspenseful, emotional story that asks plenty of big questions about identity and freedom, this is a debut not to be missed. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A taut, suspenseful read. Tech Times
Lightless is an exercise in lighting a very slow fuse and building the tension to an unbearable pitch while making us guess just how apocalyptic the ultimate explosion will be. . . . It is a high-wire act, a wonderment, and a fine accomplishment from a name we ll be seeing again. Sci Fi"
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-29
- Reviewer: Staff
Debut author Higgins blends political philosophy into space opera adventure with moderate success in a series launch that rewards a patient reader. The experimental spaceship Ananke moves slowly across a solar system ruled by a ruthless Earth-based government too literally named the System. After two thieves with revolutionary leanings come on board, the ship—and its caretaker, Althea—will change forever. Higgins struggles a bit with the pacing after setting up the main characters, spending too long matching wits between thief Ivan, a jaded, unbreakable man who questions the System, and ambitious interrogator Ida, a flat example of government evil, while Althea tries to fix a ship that is transforming in response to the behavior of Ivan’s partner, Mattie. However, the pace improves as the characters find common ground, and Higgins brings deep questions to the fore along with serious consequences for the characters’ actions. There’s plenty more to explore in this world for readers who can forgive a few newbie stumbles. (Sept.)