Ethan Walker becomes a Fleet Captain! He acquires the Elysium Sun as a sister ship to the Olympus Dawn, and as one might expect: more ships, more problems. Walker takes it all in stride as the “more problems” also means “more money.” It allows him to take a secretive yet highly lucrative job that pushes him and the crew beyond Coalition space. He catches the eye of a terrorist organization, and well, things get messy.
That’s the setup for Beyond the Edge, the fourth entry in Eric Michael Craig’s Wings of Earth series. It is a hard shift from Chains of Dawn (book three), which saw the crew split across a jungle planet. Readers will be both relieved and re-stressed, as the narrow escape from the previous story sets up the perilous isolation of this story. The transition may look sudden on paper, but it makes total sense given the ending of Dawn.
Once again, Craig keeps his readers guessing despite the inherent danger of leaving “safe space.” The quotes are necessary, being that Walker and the crew are pros at finding trouble wherever they go. This is due to the recurring and relatable flaws of the main characters. And thankfully, they are far from one-dimensional. Craig maneuvers them with care and provides growth opportunities when appropriate. And as they sail beyond the edge, so to speak, their backstories gain depth and their motivations gain focus.
I would say that Beyond the Edge is the most impactful book thus far. Starlight established the arcs, Dust gave them stakes, Chains pushed their limits, and now Edge tests the very bonds that hold it all together. Far too often, long-running series will test a reader’s patience with recycled narratives and riskless action. Craig understands this, and he goes to great lengths to maintain a realistic tension. Four books in, I still see each character as expendable to the central plot. It keeps the heart pounding and the pages turning.
At this point, it’s easier to recommend the series above individual titles. Wings of Earth is a fun and engaging saga that I keep coming back to. The callbacks to Shan Takhu Legacy are also very rewarding. It’s quite obvious that Craig has devoted a lot of time and effort into weaving this all together. I suspect that there are giant whiteboards hanging in his office.
Learn more at EricMichaelCraig.com
Zeedub Reviews: Stranger Bedfellows (Wings of Earth #5) by Eric Michael Craig
Zeedub Reviews: Chains of Dawn (Wings of Earth #3) by Eric Michael Craig
Zeedub Reviews: Dust of the Deep (Wings of Earth #2) by Eric Michael Craig
Zeedub Reviews: Echoes of Starlight (Wings of Earth #1) by Eric Michael Craig
Zeedub Reviews: Scatter the Winds (A Wings of Earth Story) by Eric Michael Craig