This is a really different, but solidly written SF book – one of the best I’ve read recently. Characters you care about. Plots within plots, and some really unique ideas, but at the heart, a classic SF story. The Pax rules the known galaxies. An earth born initiative, they rule through a government that is increasingly being controlled by adjutors, glorified accountants/bean counters who want to squeeze every last dime out of everything they do, and try and make sure than all projects are cost-effective. Jereko, a scientist and academic, is plucked from obscurity, briefly trained, and in a wonderfully crafted bit of subterfuge, they manage to drop him in a pod in the air space of a rogue colony that broke off from the Pax thousands of years before. They want information on the “angels” that the Empyreans wear. The angels are said to keep them from doing bad things. All senators must wear them and incidents of greed, corruption, bribery, have gone done to almost zero. So Jereko is snuck into the colony through a land based agent already planted during peace talks between the Pax and Empyreans. Also bouncing around is Chandris, a young grifter, who keeps bumping into Jereko. Together, with a nice assortment of fellow conspirators, they set off to discover who/what the angels are, what is Angelmass, the black hole that emits these angels, and how to achieve peace. No easy feat. Fun, entertaining, and I hope that he writes again in this universe.
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