The country of Ile-Rein lies in peril: Young king Roland sits uneasy upon the throne, surrounded by nobles who would use human sorcery to hasten his downfall. The king’s bastard sister, the Fayre Queen of Air and Darkness, is hell bent on revenge against him and all he stands for.
The only power to save the land rests with the Dowager Queen Ravenna…and Thomas Boniface, Captain of the Queen’s Guard – a rakish cavalier who would cross swords with the Devil if it would save his Queen.
But will one man’s steel be enough to counter all the world’s magic?
And now the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child’s plaything.
But there are other evils—far more terrifying than the Gardier foe—alive in this world in chaos. And they’re closer than a whisper.
But the doorway leads to a mysterious ruin hidden behind the awesome Gate of Gods—and to perils that dwarf anything Tremaine and her allies could have possibly imagined…
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ’droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
Planetary survey missions must be accompanied by a Security Unit: a protection robot supplied by the lowest bidder. The current survey team don’t know that their SecUnit calls itself ‘Murderbot’, and has overridden its governor module. But when mysterious things start happening, they are going to be very glad it has.
This is a zippy little novella, just 150pp of snark as we listen to Murderbot narrate its story, and discover more about its background. There’s not time for a lot of character development other than the first person narrator, but we get an interesting world, an engaging protagonist, and the set-up for a lot more action and robot-soul-searching.
This makes a good contrast with that other recent ‘robot learning to live in a human world’ tale, A Closed and Common Orbit. They are quite different in feel, but both are thought-provoking.
It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself Murderbot. But it has only vague memories of the massaacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.
Teaming up with a research transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the A stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.
What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
Murderbot has decided to investigate the planet where it originally went rogue and earned its name. This means avoiding being discovered by humans who would be hostile to its very existence. So it hitches a ride with an unmanned research ship; this is not necessarily a safe option, as the ship’s AI is somewhat curious, and can’t be completely distracted by Murderbot’s collection of space opera shows. And then when Murderbot reaches the planet, it decides a good cover is to sign on as a security consultant for a group of naive scientists who may have just made a big discovery. What could possible go wrong…?
This is another great little novella narrated by the snarky Murderbot, as it discovers things about its past, and itself, that will have a big impact on its future.
Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial AI is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.
And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.
Murderbot has noticed a set of unusual events that might just give it a clue in its GreyCris Corporation investigations. So it sets off to the edge of known space to find out just what has been going on. There it finds itself once again acting as protector for a group of humans. This time it might be impossible to complete its own mission and save the humans: which one will it sacrifice?
Another great novella. The plot thickens, and the snark continues. But it’s getting harder to believe some of Murderbot’s self-professed lack of care.
Having traveled the Width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.
But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?
And what will become of it when it’s caught?
Murderbot finally has the evidence that will take down GrayCris Corp. But Dr Mensah is being held hostage by the Corporation. Can Murderbot deliver the evidence and save Dr Mensah? And why does Murderbot even want to do this?
This final novella in the Murderbot series zips smartly along like all the others, and ties back neatly with the characters from the first instalment. Murderbot continues to be snarky, and continues to run rings around tech defences. This being the last instalment, there are several times where it is not at all clear how things are going to pan out. There is a satisfactory conclusion, but I do want to see more Murderbot tales, and maybe in meatier novel form for next?
It calls itself Murderbot, but only when no one can hear.
It worries about the fragile human crew who’ve grown to trust it, but only where no one can see.
It tells itself that they’re only a professional obligation, but when they’re captured and an old friend from the past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.
Drastic action it is, then.
Murderbot is now free, working with the crew it rescued. But on their way back to Preservation Station, they are kidnapped, by Murderbot’s old friend, spaceship ART. But looks like ART and its crew have been destroyed by invaders. As usual, humans underestimate Murderbot, and mayhem ensues.
A novel-length Murderbot tale! Yay! It’s as frenetic, snarky, and suspenseful as the novellas, but longer. We get to see more inside Murderbot’s head (with parenthetical asides (and asides to asides)), and the range of reactions of the humans it works with. Murderbot never feels “human”, but never feels “inhuman” either. Excellent stuff.
When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?).
Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!
Murderbot gets to solve a murder!
This is an interesting security-bot procedural, where Murderbot is working with humans (not all of whom are happy to be working with Murderbot) in order to solve a murder on Preservation Station. The problem has all the usual red herrings and complications of a murder mystery, but Murderbot breezes through most of the puzzles with relatively little violence.
A novella-sized step in the humanisation of Murderbot.