World of Fire (James Lovegrove; Solaris) is a a promising start to a new SF adventure series, in which a roving troubleshooter tackles problems on the frontier planets of an interstellar civilization.
Dev Harmer’s original body died in the Frontier War against the artificial intelligences of Polis+. Interstellar Security Solutions saved his mind and memories; now they download him into host bodies to run missions anywhere there are problems that have local law enforcement stumped. He dreams of the day the costs of his resurrection are paid off and he can retire into a reconstructed copy of his real body; until then, he’s here to take names and kick ass.
When this sort of thing is done poorly it’s just Mickey Spillane with rayguns. When it’s done well the SFnal setting is crucial to the story, and there’s a real puzzle (or a series of them) driving the plot.
In this case it’s done well. The expected quotas of action, fight scenes, hairbreadth escapes, and tough-guy banter are present. The prose and characterization are competent. The worldbuilding and puzzle elements are better than average. An ambitious pathbreaking work of SF it is not, but good value for your entertainment money it certainly is – good enough that I now want to investigate Lovegrove’s backlist.
I’ll look forward to the sequels.