Linesman (Linesman, #1)

By S.K. Dunstall

Rating: 5 stars

Human spaceships travel the stars by means of the lines. And the lines are maintained by the linesmen. Ean Lambert is a linesman of the highest order, although one shunned by his fellows for his low origins and self-taught ways, not to mention his eccentric nature of singing to the lines. But now a mysterious force has appeared in the galaxy which may rewrite everything we know about the lines, and ignite a political bonfire that Ean won’t be able to put out with song.

I loved this book. The worldbuilding is pretty good, with the political factions being laid out for us and Ean’s own history being revealed slowly, over time. Ean started off a bit watery but is moulded by events and people around him and grows substantially as a character. The others around him don’t necessarily fare so well, though, and I couldn’t get over the way that the princess royal (and heir to the throne) took him under her wing as she did.

Despite all that, the plot cracks along apace and is huge amounts of fun. The alien ship eventually reveals (some of) its secrets but opens up wider questions about the nature of the lines and the wider galaxy at large. Unusually for me, I’ve already ordered both the other books in the series in one go and I suspect they’ll end up pretty near the top of the to-read pile.

Edit September 2020: I’m upping this from 4 to 5 stars on a reread, because although the niggles are still there, it’s just so much fun to read.

Book details

ISBN: 9780425279526
Publisher: Ace
Year of publication: 2015

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