Upon This Rock: Book 1 - First Contact by David Marusek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I came upon this as a total surprise on NetGalley, but a completely welcome one! I've read two of his other highly acclaimed hard SF novels and I didn't care in the slightest what this one might be about.
Why? Because he's just that good and I trust him completely to tell a great tale.
Now that I've finished this book, I'm not revising my statement. At all.
What should you expect here? Alaska. Deep country. We focus mainly on two sides of an issue with very little in the way of alien first contact until much deeper into the tale. That's fine, really, because we're thrown in deep into a family of ultra-conservative and perhaps quite fringe Christians who are so elite that they feel like they're more fundamental than Quakers. With a few notable exceptions as with a satellite cell phone for their online business, they would be, too.
The other side is with the Rangers who naturally have beef with this complex and disturbing family because they're squatting illegally on Public Park land.
Prepare to get fully invested in this family and the area and the Rangers, because this novel is completely fascinating and complex all on this level. And then add an alien who knows how to manipulate humanity. :) Angels! Or demons. :)
Murder, rape, right-wing nuttery, and an almost Waco situation ensue, while all the while, we're learning and emotionally preparing for a huge fallout to come.
This is only the first book in a series and the setup is delicious. The point isn't even that it is a first contact novel. The real strength is in the way it's written... the fullness of its details, and the complexity of its characters, the way they live, react, and survive as they see the world and the devil bear down on them.
I can honestly say that this is an epic setup and I trust the author to knock it right out of the park with subsequent novels! :)
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