The characters zip through so many worlds that it's hard to keep track of them, but Flynn includes enough clever references to the long-abandoned Earth to keep the journey amusing…The balladic framework can be heavy-handed at times, but it adds a mythical quality to what could have been run-of-the-mill space fantasy.
The Washington Post
Acclaimed SF writer Flynn (Eifelheim) delivers an epic tale of adventure, intrigue, suspense and mystery. Forced to land for repairs on an unnamed, remote planet, Captain Amos January and crew discover a cache of artifacts left by a cryptic alien race "long before humans went to space." They soon retrieve the Dancer, a shape-changing stone that defies analysis. Possibly the scepter of a legendary prehuman king, certainly unique, the priceless trophy is desired by diverse governments, military powers, plutocrats and cabals throughout human-settled space. Flynn knits a richly detailed story of hunters, bandits and patriots that will keep even the most diligent readers on their toes. The plot evokes old-school space opera with its whirlwind pace, immense scope and twist ending, but cutting-edge extrapolation breathes vivid life into this universe of scoundrels, heroes and romantics. This multi-layered story demands much of the reader, but offers more than equivalent rewards. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Labyrinthine space opera from venturesome science-fiction author Flynn (Eifelheim, 2006, etc.) tracks an artifact of unknown origin.
Discovered deep within a nameless planet and subsequently lost by freighter captain Amos January, the mysterious pre-human statue known as the Dancer soon surfaces on New Eireann, a future-Ireland in the midst of its own troubles. Promptly stolen by barbarians from across the Rift, the twisting stone, which bears a striking resemblance to the scepter of a mythical alien ruler, quickly arouses the attentions of many an interested party. Exiled guerilla leader Little Hugh O'Carroll thinks he should return home to his cause, but instead falls in with the Fudir, a shadowy fixture of the Terran underworld with his own circuitous plans. Briget ban, an elite Hound of the Ardry, Greystroke, an ambitious Pup, and Radhi Lady Cargo Dalhousie, a shipping mandarin with an eye for collecting, are also players in this most convoluted game.
Flynn ably tracks the intersecting orbits of his assassins, pirates and would-be kings, constructing a plot with the human density of a Brazilian favela, but his scattershot epic lacks the enveloping seamlessness of Peter F. Hamilton's superlative work.
Agent: Eleanor Wood/Spectrum Literary Agency