cover image The Last Emperox

The Last Emperox

John Scalzi. Tor, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8916-9

Hugo Award–winner Scalzi knocks it out of the park with the tightly plotted, deeply satisfying conclusion to his Interdependency Sequence space opera trilogy (after The Consuming Fire). The Flow streams, trade routes that connect the planets governed under the Interdependency, face an imminent collapse that will leave every world but the small planet End isolated and cause countless deaths. Emperox Grayland II works to thwart coup attempts long enough for her lover, physicist Marce Claremont, to work out how to save the population from this impending disaster. Meanwhile, Grayland’s enemy Nadashe Nohamapetan consolidates her control of End while promising disgruntled, powerful noble families exclusive access to the planet in exchange for their political support. Scalzi allows the flaws, foibles, and core personalities of the returning characters—careful Grayson, ruthless Nadashe, and especially foul-mouthed mercenary Kiva Lagos—to steer the story, and his careful, long-game planning allows for pitch-perfect pacing that will keep readers energized from start to finish. Balancing existing character dynamics and surprising—but well-earned—reveals with interstellar politics and pressing ethical questions of sustainability and power, Scalzi sends his series out with a bang. (Apr.)