Published by Pyr
Web site www.joelshepherd.com
Joel Shepherd’s electric heroine, Cassandra “Sandy” Kresnov, continues her thrill-ride of a life in the author’s second novel, Breakaway. Shepherd picks up her story shortly after the events of Crossover, and the story doesn’t miss a beat. If anything the beat gets turned up a few notches.
Just because Cassandra is now part of the citizenry of Callay, it doesn’t mean her life has settled down. Who she is and what she is presents a moral crux for many of the people on the world, not the least of which are both the League and the Federation. Those are just the two major factions at odds in the novel, but perhaps the two organizations with the greatest contention are the two security agencies of Callay the CSA (her employer) and the SIB. The political powers that be (and those that would be) want to use her as a touchstone and a political tool.
Another aspect of Breakaway I enjoyed was the depth and back-history Shepherd added to his future world. Like many Science Fiction novels, and the writers who write them, Shepherd postulates a future that is very Indian/Asian-centric. While Callay is a mixed-pot of ethnicity, so to speak, the dominant names and cultures are of an Indian background. In some ways, one could see Shepherd’s world as an extrapolation of the world Ian McDonald postulates in his fascinating novel
While Crossover was an extremely well balanced novel, I couldn’t help finding a couple of spots lagging in Breakaway. The pacing felt much more tight in Shepherd’s previous novel. There seemed to be a bit more “discussion” in Breakaway, while Crossover featured a bit more action. These discussions moved the plot along fairly well, but as I said, the story felt slighly unbalanced.
The ending of the novel clearly does not close out
© 2007 Rob H. Bedford