|Revenger, by Alastair Reynolds, is a classic high seas adventure with ships, mainsail, pirates, treasure, and villains. But in space.|
That’s right, Revenger is set around half a million years in the future, when humanity has set out into the galaxy and returned numerous times. Earth is long gone and the solar system’s 13th occupation lives on domes, on rocks, and on space debris in islands and enclaves, with ships powered by solar sails plying the trade routes between them.
That’s right. Reynolds has deliberately recreated the 18th century West Indies - in space.
The impression of a space Caribbean is reinforced by the use of language. In the grim darkness of the far future, everyone talks like a pirate.
Swaggering down Jauncery, you’ll see shivery, scowly coves giving you the squint-eye. And God help ye if you’ve got the glowy about ye. Matey.
As a pirate adventure, Revenger revolves around a pair of early teenagers, who run away to seek their fortunes on the space version of the Spanish Main - joining a crew of space treasure hunters. It’s a classic premise.
What follows is a tale of tragedy and loss, adventure and redemption, cowardice and bravery, robots, and of course, revenge, told from the point of view of the younger sister, Arafura Ness.
I read Revenger start to finish over a few days. The pace is perfect for a rip-roaring read, and although there is no sex or foul language, there’s plenty of gratuitous violence.
I loved it, and I would be happy to lend my copy to a 10 year old. They’d love it too.