Book Review – The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Humanity s last hope of survival lies in space but will a random death doom the venture?

Our planet is dying and the world s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet.

Everything is set for a bright adventure and then someone is found hanging dead just weeks before the launch. Fear and paranoia spread as the death begins to look more and more like a murder. The authorities want the case settled quickly and quietly so as not to cause panic and to prevent a murderer from sabotaging the entire mission.

With The Man in the Tree, Locus Award-winning author Sage Walker has given us a thrilling hard science fiction mystery that explores the intersection of law, justice, and human nature.

Review:

I received this as an ARC as I’m a big fan of generation ship stories and just had to read it. When I saw that this was one right before it launched, I was incredibly interested as most stories in this theme are either building it or way after the launch when a lot of information has been forgotten.

This book starts not long before the ship is due to depart, however a man has just been found dead and one hour of security camera footage is missing around the time that he died. What follows is a fantastic murder mystery in a sci-fi setting.

As it’s a murder mystery, I’m going to avoid discussing the plot at all because well half the fun of the novel was trying to figure out what was happening along with the main character, Helt, and so I don’t want to give away any spoilers either intentionally or unintentionally.

The worldbuilding of this novel is fantastic, as Helt moves around the ship interviewing potential suspects and those that knew the deceased, we learn more about the ship itself and what caused it to be built. Most of this is just mentioned as background information but it really helps flesh out the novel. The ship itself, Kybele, is also described brilliantly and I loved reading about how it was built and all the planning that has gone into it.

Helt is a great character, he’s been tasked with investigating the case and he’s on a strict deadline as the ship will be departing soon and so they want to find the murderer in time to send him off the ship on the final shuttle.

I would highly recommend this novel, it was a thrilling adventure and I highly enjoyed the mystery which kept me engrossed right up until the end. It’s great for both sci-fi fans and for those that are fans of murder mysteries.

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