Author: Ian McDonald
Book: Luna: New Moon (Luna #1)
Published: September 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Science Fiction
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.