Artifact Space by Miles Cameron
About the BookOut in the darkness of space, something is targeting the Greatships.
With their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city, the Greatships are the lifeblood of human-occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume - and value - of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species.
It has always been Marca Nbaro's dream to achieve the near-impossible: escape her upbringing and venture into space.
All it took, to make her way onto the crew of the Greatship Athens was thousands of hours in simulators, dedication, and pawning or selling every scrap of her old life in order to forge a new one. But though she's made her way onboard with faked papers, leaving her old life - and scandals - behind isn't so easy.
She may have just combined all the dangers of her former life, with all the perils of the new.
The first thing that hits you as you start reading Artifact Space, is that Miles Cameron doesn’t bother with any kind of build up. There’s no introduction. It’s a case of throwing you into the story as we follow (which we don’t know at this point) the main character Marca Nbara being chased. Miles Cameron writes this initial pursuit so well, that you are as disorientated as the main character and it’s so exciting, grabbing you by the nether regions and dragging you straight in the book.
I have to say that I was surprised by this book. I don’t know why, but I think that I had some preconceived ideas. I think I expected it to be that type of science fiction that I don’t understand, you know, with planetary names that I can't pronounce for example. However, it most certainly is not like that. I was so surprised at how brilliantly personable the characters are. How fast the action is and how accessible I found Miles Cameron's writing style. It seemed to click straight away and I gobbled this book up.
Now, when it comes to the story, I was immediately engrossed in the tale of Marca Nbaro. She is a person who has a really bad case of imposter syndrome (and with good reason, which you will see why as the story progresses), but despite the reasons that she has done what she has done to join the crew of the Athens, she most certainly does not believe that she fits in amongst the crew. She is a person of depth that I immediately related to and fell on her side. She definitely has that underdog aspect about her that you just can’t help rooting for.
There are loads of things to like about Artifact Space, and one of these being the massive, sword shaped spaceships (or greatships), which whilst being interstellar spaceships seem to remind you of the great naval ships of the British Navy of the 17th/18th Century.
Another aspect of the book that I found interesting and that drew me in was the socio-political aspect of both the world that we are initially introduced to in the beginning, and also that of the ship, like how many times chocolate cake is used as a bartering system for favours, or how the rank and file bow and scrape to their superiors. The consortium that the ship is owned by, reminds me of the East India company and its mercantile expansive principles. In the way that they would move to different countries, cultures etc, whilst having their own private army.
However,despite all that stuff, it was mainly, the writing, the plot and the characters that dragged m into this book and how damned good they all are..
I think throughout this review, it is pretty obvious that I liked this book. It surprised me no end. It’s accessible and doesn’t bog you down with sci fi techno babble. It is a cracking adventure story that is full of well rounded characters that you cannot help rooting for.