My second Charles Phipps book in as many weeks and Lucifer’s Star is another fantastic read. This time, Phipps has teamed up with Michael Suttkus to bring us a thrillingly dark space opera right out of the top draw. Though very different from The Tower of Zhaal (reviewed here ), Lucifer’s Star is the story of Cassius Mass (great name!) – a hero of the Crius Archduchy, now hiding on-board a spaceship after Crius was crushed in battle by the Commonwealth. Mass’ wife and home were destroyed and he now wishes only to remain anonymous, which is tricky when there is a large bounty on your head! Mass is found out early on in the book but is presented with an opportunity he can’t refuse. And so we embark upon a journey through space where no-one is as they first appear and the word “friend” is used loosely.
Similarly with The Tower of Zhaal, the action scenes are vivid and exciting, but Lucifer’s Star is a great read because of Cassius Mass. Cassius is a very grey character. Is he a terrorist or a freedom fighter? It really is up to the reader to decide. The lines are blurred and the moral ambiguity of this character makes Lucifer’s Star compelling reading. I am not a huge space opera fan at all to be honest so I was glad to find such a well-developed and intriguing lead. As I delved deeper into the book I found myself liking Mass more and more. Mass isn’t the only great character in the book, each of his allies and foes are equally well-drawn and have their own personalities. You will love them one chapter and hate them in the next. It is thrilling stuff!
There are a few parallels with Star Wars I felt, but Lucifer’s Star is darker, a lot darker. It’s Grimdark in space! There are a multitude of twists and turns, friends become enemies, enemies become friends, you just never know who to trust. It is one of those books that even reluctant science fiction readers like myself can enjoy. The world-building is excellent. No info-dumping going on here as the book is allowed to breathe, the universe growing steadily and impressively as the plot develops.
It is testament to the quality of Lucifer’s Star that a reader such as myself, one that is not always a fan of science fiction can enjoy it as much as I did. Phipps and Suttkus have created a cast of characters and a galaxy I look forward to losing myself in again soon. An excellent start to a new series.
5/5 laser blasts from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.