Fulcrum of Odysseus is the second book of the Shan Takhu Legacy, a hard science fiction series by Eric Michael Craig. The story picks up right where Legacy of Pandora left off, which is a very good thing. If Craig had jumped more than a second into the future, I would have shown up at his front door to engage in a lively battle of fisticuffs.

We rejoin the imperiled crew of the Jakob Waltz as they delve further into …

And now comes the hard part. How do I give this book a proper review without divulging too much of the gripping plot? As anyone who has read the series can attest, one of the biggest appeals of the Shan Takhu Legacy is its reveals. I said as much in my previous review, where I teased a riveting ending that gets an extended reveal in the second book.

Here’s something I can say without conflict: I love Rocky. She’s hilarious in that gruff and candid Russian kind of way. She remains one of my favorite characters.

In reading this second installment, one thing became abundantly clear. Eric Michael Craig is a very big fan of Robert Heinlein, one of the pillars of classic science fiction. Heinlein’s influence is evident throughout the series, from the liberation of ethos to the corruptions of power, painted as empathetic flaws that ultimately lead to war. Craig tackles these themes in a very thoughtful way, often conjuring sympathy for characters that do not deserve any. These are difficult waters to tread, even for the most seasoned of writers, and yet Craig manages to glide across the surface with ease.

I highly recommend the Shan Takhu Legacy to anyone with a taste for space operas, political drama, psycho horror, or proper science. So basically, anyone with a functioning brain.

(Spoiler alert, but not really.) The highlight of this book for me was the marriage of Derek Tomlinson with Odysseus. “Marriage” in this case would be more of an unholy alliance, as Odysseus is a nefarious form of artificial awareness that rises in response to the Tacra Un discovery. Working through Tomlinson, the former chancellor of a powerful cartel, the entity seeks power and leverage over a collapsed governing union. That said, this is more teaser than spoiler because the psychodrama that unfolds is the tantalizing reveal.

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More works by Eric Michael Craig