Steven Harper,
(Roc, 2003)

Trickster is the third novel in The Silent Empire series, following on from Nightmare and Dreamer. I haven't read the previous two books, but plan to remedy that soon. I devoured Trickster in less than a day, finding it gripping stuff, entertaining, exciting and suspenseful, with solid and believable characters and sufficient backfill from the forward and the author throughout the story that I did not miss out on any nuance or emotion due to being new to the series.

Steven Harper is writing good science fiction, paying attention to background and description, interaction and a strong human viewpoint, not swamping the reader, however avid, in a morass of technical jargon or space-station schematics. I am not quite as addicted to The Silent Empire as I am to the Liaden Universe of Lee and Miller, but my enjoyment in encountering Kendi, Ben, Harenn and the rest of the crew of Poltergeist as they search for family members sold into slavery and struggle with the loss of the Silent communication in the Dream is almost on par with reading about Lee and Miller's world, or Anne McCaffrey's.

Harper gives his reader a taste of his next novel, Children, which, while comforting to know he is providing further literary adventure, is also frustrating -- we must wait for its release! I'm delighted to have found this competent author and his compelling plot, and look forward to backtracking for the first two books.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 7 May 2005

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