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WesternSFA
Heaven's Fall
by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt
Ace, $9.99 pb, 541 pp
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
This is the sequel to Heaven’s Shadow, click here for that review; and, Heavens’ War, click here for that review.

It’s been several years since that last book and Rachel and Pav are now married with a teenager.  Keanu, the ancient spaceship they live in, is on a slow path back to Earth.  The nasty alien bugs, Reivers, are gone for good but the humans are pretty sure the last survivors got to Earth.  The plan now is to return to Earth, discover the extent of the Reiver infestation, and then get rid of them.  The problem is that they still haven’t figured out much about Keanu or how to use the technology all around them.  Dale, who took off on a walk-about last book, has a better idea than most of them but no one wants to hear from him.  And even Dale isn’t too sure about some of the data that he’s accessed.  Nor is he very certain about whether Keanu is sentient or not. 

Rachel, Pav and their daughter, Yahvi take a centuries-old Sentry ship to Earth on a mission to locate the Reivers.  Sentries are another alien species living on Keanu who, apparently, have been at war with Reivers for a very, very long time.  One outcast Sentry accompanies the small team.  The Reivers have had twenty years on Earth and most of the planet is under their control.  No one likes it but there is little anyone can do.  The story also gives the reader a perspective from two American men who work for the Reivers, known to them as Aggregates.  The term Aggregate comes from the bugs’ ability to collect together and make a larger, more versatile creature capable of using technology.  The two men have a unique relationship with one of the Aggregates, working with her on a project in the Arizona desert – a project that will have dire consequences for the whole planet.  I hate to say more because it would be a major spoiler; but the Aggregate develops a different perspective than her other Aggregate co-workers which causes her to question her race’s goal.

Meanwhile, Rachel and her team have a goal to find the Aggregates’ desert project site and sabotage it.  Another team, still on Keanu, is working on yet another approach in case Rachel’s team doesn’t make it.  Surprisingly, the Beehive on Keanu starts working again; for the first time in twenty years, and it spits out a Resurrectee who died on Earth, one of Rachel’s team.  We know from the earlier books, that when Keanu resurrects a dead human it is with the intention of using the body to communicate with the humans, and that the resurrectee doesn’t live past its purpose.  And this resurrectee comes with new information about the Aggregates’ purpose – and a fresh urgency.

And this is only a snippet of the entire plot.  This is an intricate and well-plotted story.   It is a slow, steady buildup with little melodrama; not terribly exciting but very interesting to watch developing.  I loved how the pieces came together at the end but was a little surprised to find a cliffhanger at the end as I thought this was the end of a trilogy.  But, possibly the guys have a second trilogy waiting in the wings…~~ Catherine Book

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