It starts feeling like one of the more ‘sciency’ books, with the discovery of life on Mercury–because of course. But that feeling is short lived, as it turns out the life is actually from Mars , leaving Astrobiologist Victor Molina framed and disgraced–although the ‘who’ and ‘why’ are left unclear.
But really, Mercury is more similar to the Powersat and Asteroid Wars books, with corporate conflict and an exploration of life and revenge throughout the solar system as the primary focus. In the second part of Mercury, we go back to Earth, years (if not decades) in the past, following the story of the great Sky Tower (a space elevator) on Earth. And then… disaster. It’s been hinted at in other books, but we’ve never really gotten details before, so when the Space Elevator falls… the feel of destruction is impressive.
The third section feels a lot like The Aftermath actually, only with more of a purpose. We’re following the story of an exile from Earth making his way among the miners and ore transporters out to the belt and back. It’s a solid slice of life and fits a lot better with the rest of the book/series than I felt Aftermath did.
The final section brings everything together, tying the fall of the Sky Tower to the ‘modern’ events playing out on Mercury. It’s a story of misplaced revenge and how humanity really can be our own worst enemies.
On thing in particular that was interesting to see was the contract between the Yamagatas. I really liked Saito Yamagata from what we saw of his interactions with Dan Randolph what feels like ages ago and it’s interesting to see how simultaneously the same and different his son has turned out to be.
Between this book and Saturn/Titan, it really does look like we’re finally building up to leaving the Solar System. I’m curious to see where we’ll go from here.
Worth the read.