Forgotten Book: Anniversary Day by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (2011)

The moon starts to look more and more like Swiss Cheese in Rusch's Anniversary Day. Review by Scott A. Cupp

This is the 155th in my series of Forgotten Books.

I have been a fan of Kristine Kathryn Rusch for close to 25 years. I met her in the early 1990’s in New Orleans at one of the NOLACons. She and Dean Wesley Smith came there for several years. I read some of her early works and was blown away by her novella “The Gallery of His Dreams” (1992), which dealt with Matthew Brady and the Civil War. She went on to edit The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for 6 years.

Recently I had the chance to get all eight novels in her recent Anniversary Day series and I grabbed the chance. The Retrieval Artist has been a series she has revisited regularly since 2002. Others had recommended this series to me so I dove right on in.

Anniversary Day begins on a fateful day on the moon, when terrorists destroy part of the dome protecting the city of Armstrong from the cold vacuum outside. Thousands died and each year thereafter there was a celebration of those who survived. Detective Bartholomew Nyquist and his partner were both seriously injured in that original explosion. Four years later, he is back at work. His partner Ursula Palmette was not as lucky and had to leave the police force. So Anniversary Day is always a day seen with trepidation.

Now, four years after the original blast, something is going wrong. The Mayor of Armstrong is getting ready to make his annual speech and is glad-handing the crowd when he suddenly gets rigid and goes into cardiac arrest. Similarly the Governor General of the Moon finds herself attacked in the same way. Moon Security Chief Noelle DeRicci realizes there is something going on and enlists Nyquist to check out the attacks. Another mayor is attacked, but that attack fails. Security measures uncover a major plot to blow all the city domes on the moon.

Nyquist pursues the clues as a policeman. DeRicci also contacts Miles Flint, the Retrieval Artist, who works outside all systems in tracking down people, who begins to track from another direction. They find clues that point to the big plot and realize they have very little time to prevent the total destruction of life on the Moon.

Anniversary Day is the first novel in an eight-novel sequence. The final was published this year, so I know I can read the entire story, unlike some other series where long times pass between installments and I, as a reader, lose track of the story and have to re-read thousands of pages to get back into the plot. Phil Farmer and Riverworld cured me of this, as did Gene Wolfe and the New Sun books. George R.R. Martin is the current one like that.

Anniversary Day is a good, fast police procedural thriller with interesting characters and a well fleshed universe. It was so good, I immediately read the second book, Blowback. It’s just as good. I don’t have time to read eight novels by the same person in a row, but I plan to read the rest during the coming year. I think this will be a very good year.

As always, your mileage could vary, but I don’t think so. This is good stuff. Check it out.

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews at her own blog, and posts a complete list of participating blogs.