Jan 2008 Bantam/Spectra, paperback, $6.99. (9780553591071)
Bear takes on the well-worn sf device of the generation ship and, seasoning with Roger Zelazny-esque family politics and Mervyn Peake-ish behind-the-scenes intrigue, concocts a delicious blend of science so advanced it’s like magic and people, the ships royalty, who are somehow altered by the nanotech colonies that make them Exalt but remain neurotic and struggling like ordinary humans. The ship hasn’t moved in centuries, and Engine and Rule (parts of the ship) are nearly at war. Desperately trying avert war, Rien helps Sir Perceval escape Rule and dangerously trek to Engine, near-constantly watched by Jacob Dust, the Angel of Memory, while the other angels and devils make alliances in the continuing battle for survival. As the smaller angels are devoured, battle to control the hulk of the ship Jacobs Ladder nears an end. Bear’s approach to the story results in exactly the kind of brilliantly detailed, tightly plotted, roller-coaster book she has led her readers to expect, replete with a fantastic cast of characters. When Bear revamps the genres standard furniture, the results are extraordinary.