The Moon wants to kill you. Whether it's being unable to pay your per diem for your allotted food, water, and air, or you just get caught up in a fight between the Moon's ruling corporations, the Five Dragons. You must fight for every inch you want to gain in the Moon's near feudal society. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.
As the leader of the Moon's newest "dragon," Adriana has wrested control of the Moon's Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family's new status. Now, at the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana's five children must defend their mother's empire from her many enemies... and each other.
1. Luna: New Moon
2. Luna: Wolf Moon
3. Luna: Moon Rising
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McDonald (Empress of the Sun) begins his superb near-future series launch with an elaborate and very necessary list of characters. The five families who rule Earth s moon, called the Five Dragons, operate in an essentially feudal system. There is no law but contract law and consensus, and contract violations can be settled by dueling. The Cortas, the newest of the Dragons, control the moon s helium and ship it to Earth to power the overpopulated planet. Their greatest enemy, the MacKenzies, control mineral extraction and have deeply resented the Cortas incursion into their domain. Adriana, the founder of the Corta family, is old, and her sons and daughters are relentlessly jockeying for the succession. Meanwhile, Marina Calzaghe, a near-destitute temporary Corta employee, saves one of those sons from assassination, and quickly finds herself drawn into the family s scintillating, violent, and decadent world. McDonald creates a complex and fascinating civilization featuring believable technology, and the characters are fully developed, with individually gripping stories. Watch for this brilliantly constructed family saga on next year s award ballots.
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Impossible to Look Away
This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier.
Since 1969, humans have known that the Moon is an unforgiving environment. It exists in the near vacuum of space. It has no electromagnetic field against solar radiation. The dust is sharp. Add human society to the moon, and the elements multiply. The Moon has been colonized and is ruled as a feudal society. They call the most powerful families the Five Dragons.
Adriana Corta is the head of the newest “dragon.” She has fought for every inch she has gained, wresting control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the well-established Mackenzie Metal Corporation. Now, she is at the twilight of her life. She has made many enemies during the rises of Corta Helio. Her five children must defend her legacy from her many enemies.
Luna: New Moon (winner of the 2016 Galactic Spectrum Award) is about the human colony on the Moon. Ian McDonald envisions it as a world of corporate warfare. The only law on the moon is contract law. There are no civil or criminal laws. The houses often use duels to settle arguments. Food, water, and air are commodities. If you cannot pay for air, you eventually suffocate. The result looks almost like Chicago during Prohibition. The various major houses, called the Five Dragons, control resources that are sold to Earth. They will use marriages of convenience, espionage, kidnapping, and assassinations to get what they want. Corta Helio controls Helium-3, important for fusion reactors. Adriana Corta built her empire from the ground up, stealing the Helium-3 market out from under Mackenzie Metal. This is something Robert Mackenzie has never forgiven. As Adriana nears the end of her reign of Corta Helio, her five children must prepare for the eventual backlash.
While I found it hard to like the Cortas, it was a hard book to put down. The pacing was constantly shifting. The end suddenly ignited like an afterburner. Through the excess and decadence of the upper end of Lunar society or the desperation of those who must struggle, only the strong prosper. The reader may not like the Cortas, but it is impossible to look away.