The story of the men and women who risk everything to mine the riches of the asteroids began in "The Precipice" and continued in "The Rock Rats". It comes to its climax in "The Silent War". Martin Humphries, wealthy, ruthless and obsessed, has exiled his rival Lars Fuchs to the depths of space and taken Fuchs' wife, Amanda Cunningham, for his own. Now he rules space exploration almost unchallenged. But for Humphries, nothing short of total domination will ever be enough. He wants a son - Amanda's son. He wants Fuchs to die. He wants to control the Moon. And if the free space prospectors of the asteroid Ceres stand in his way, he promises to destroy them. But another power is building its strength in secret, waiting for a chance to seize the Humphries empire.
With its macho posturing and stereotypical characters, including devious Japanese, Hugo-winner Bova's third book in his Asteroid Wars trilogy (after 2002's The Rock Rats and 2001's The Precipice) could just as well have been written in the 1950s as today. Megalomaniac entrepreneur Martin Humphries of Humphries Space Systems has much to be pleased about on both the business and personal level: he has survived his battle with Astro Corporation's Dan Randolph and the luscious Amanda has divorced asteroid prospector Lars Fuchs to marry him. Then the Yamagata Corporation, a new player in the economy of asteroid mining, plunges the two companies into a bloody space-war and consolidates their assets in the power vacuum while Fuchs seeks vengeance on Humphries. The framing story, about an alien artifact that is both salvation and punishment for Humphries, puts a thick icing of morality on top of a series of predictable cliffhanger episodes involving violence, suffering and death. Short chapters, expository lumps and multiple, rapidly shifting perspectives on the action make for a jerky read.