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.
I spent a little less than a week reading Luna: New Moon. The first hundred pages took me five difficult days; the remainder I sucked up like a sponge in a single sitting on the sixth; and on the seventh day, I rested, not because Ian McDonald's new novel is exhausting—though it is, initially—but because its denouement is so devastating I was rather a wreck by then.
Rarely have I finished a book feeling so differently about it as I did in the beginning. If I'd tried to review Luna: New Moon while picking my way through its tremendously dense first third, I'd have struggled to recommend it in any respect. Now, it's all I can do to resist shouting GAME OF THRONES IN SPACE, as I did on Twitter when I put paid to its last masterful chapter, and signing off with a statement of its unadulterated greatness.
But maybe I should explain.
Though I can see this story taking a lot longer than intended to tell, just as George R. R. Martin's bestselling fantasy saga has, Luna: New Moon is, at the time of this writing, the first volume of a proposed duology that should do for Earth's only natural satellite what McDonald did for India in River of Gods, Brazil in Brasyl, and Istanbul in his last adult narrative: The Dervish House.
In the five years since that latter won both the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and the BSFA for Best Novel, McDonald has been busy with the Everness trilogy: a reality-spanning romp written for young adults but read by any number of readers older even than me. And perhaps that was the root cause of my problem with this novel; after Planesrunner, Be My Enemy and Empress of the Sun, I'd become accustomed to the aforementioned author at his most approachable.
Luna: New Moon is no such thing, sadly.