Imagine a grittier, more cynical, anti-corporate version of Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Crystal Singer’ series?
Tanegawa’s World is a company town. TransRift runs the mines, and interstellar government is very, very far away. In essence, TransRift IS the government, and operates without oversight – a situation unlikely to change, since interstellar travel depends on TransRift. Little of the profits of this monopoly are seen by the colonists of Tanegawa’s, who are downtrodden and exploited.
However, not everyone is willing to put up with the abuses of the company. Our protagonist, Hob, is a young woman poised to become the leader of a group on mercenaries who live on the fringes, doing jobs for pay but also protecting townspeople from more vicious groups of outlaws.
However, the precarious balance is about to be upset: a strange discovery is made in the mines; which may be related to the outbreaks of ‘witchiness’ that the miners don’t really like to talk about (or tolerate amongst themselves). Hob herself knows that she is ‘witchy’ – but she doesn’t expect that her best friend, the more mild-mannered Mag, to be arrested on charges of ‘witchiness’, on her way off-planet. For answers – and to help free Mag – she goes to the mysterious Bone Collector, a man of strange talent and unknown origin, who lives out in the desert (and whom I couldn’t picture as anything else but Carl McCoy’s ‘nomad’ character in the movie ‘Hardware.) The Bone Collector’s abilities are strangely parallel to that of the Weatherman – one of the few individuals who are capable of piloting spaceships. This Weatherman, though, is on-planet, and as the instrument of a new witch hunt, may be more dangerous than any of the colonist could have guessed.
‘Hunger Makes the Wolf’ is an enjoyable sci-fi adventure. It does show, just a bit, that this is the work of a new novelist; and I thought there was a bit too much left hanging at the end, waiting for the sequel. But I will very likely read that sequel.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are unaffected by the source of the book.