Back to proper reviews though this is actually a retro review from April 7, 2013.
The review copy came from the author via LibraryThing.
The author’s website says a sequel will be forthcoming.
Review: The Ripple in Space-Time, S. F. Chapman, 2013.
Two Amero-Asian wars have wracked havoc on humanity. While it has spread throughout the solar system, most of humanity lives in nasty feudal states run by warlords. These are places of oppression, slavery, and poverty.
The exception is Free City – whose location on Earth is never precisely given. It’s the destination for the oppressed – like its famed Inspector Ryo, a clone who came to the city an orphan. The city is also home to the Enlightenment Crusade, an idealistic movement of mostly young people trying to bring human rights to the benighted human settlements on Earth and in space. It’s also home to CRAMP, a dirty-tricks secret agency dedicated to the same end through more direct action.
It’s a world of clones and debt slavery and nasty trade guilds and fearsome weapons. Just the sort of setting of intrigue I like. Throw in some plausible sounding physics and technology involving space travel and antimatter use and gravitic astronomy, and I found this an engaging story.
The characterization is not deep, but sufficient for the characters. The plotting doesn’t drag and is not predictable. While the technology seems a bit conservative at times for four centuries in the future, that can be rationalized by those wars which killed billions.
I would say that, if you appreciate the sort of science fiction adventure tales Analog magazine does occasionally, you will like this story. I certainly am interested in reading more stories set in this future.
My only real quibble would be that this is, in terms of length, more a novella than a novel.