On August 25, the Outer Earth Trilogy comes to its explosive conclusion. Here are 6 things you need to know.
(Image above: Winter Forest Mist, Scott Wylie, used on Creative Commons)
1. The final book in the trilogy is set on Earth…
You read right. After two explosive episodes on the city-sized space station called Outer Earth, Riley Hale is finally heading to the one place she and her friends could never go. Up until now, she and everyone else thought our planet was a radioactive wasteland – but the terrorists holding Riley and her friends have picked up a signal, and they’re heading down there, using a captured ship to plunge down through the atmosphere.
But when re-entry goes wrong, Riley ends up stranded hundreds of miles from Prakesh Kumar and Aaron Carver, alone in a desolate wilderness. The skills and speed she used on Outer Earth won’t be enough to see her through. But she’s going to get to them, whatever it takes – and she’s going to settle the score with Janice Okwembu, Outer Earth’s insane former council leader, and the woman behind their journey to Earth.
2. …but some people on Outer Earth are still alive.
After the explosive decompression at the end of ZERO-G, most of Outer Earth has been reduced to a ruin. Those who have survived, a group of just over a thousand people, have barricaded themselves inside Apex sector. The station’s reactor is failing, and they’re running out of food. Within months, Outer Earth will become a cold, dark tomb.
A desperate plan has been hatched: when the last asteroid catcher ship returns, in three months’ time, those who survived can use it to attempt a return to Earth. But there is only room for a few. As the survivors weigh up what to do, young tracer Anna Beck stumbles on a deadly conspiracy…
3. Most of the story takes place in the Pacific Northwest
But not the Pacific Northwest you know. The nuclear war that wiped out humanity was devastating, and the area is desolate and unforgiving, filled with scrawny forests clinging to the sides of rocky mountains, and plagued by unpredictable weather and lethal wildlife. There are humans here, too – and as Riley will discover, not all of them are friendly.
But the big question is: why has this part of the world become liveable? Why has radiation and cataclysmic climate change not destroyed this place, like they did so many others? As she makes her way across the ruins of the Yukon to Alaska, Riley will need to find the answer.
I went up to the Yukon to research the book, spending some time riding horses in the countryside around the town of Whitehorse. The desolate, densely-wooded, bitterly-cold area was the perfect place to bring Riley’s story to its end.
4. Riley finally gets to take on Janice Okwembu
She made Riley kill her own father to save the station. Then she destroyed it to save herself. Finally, she took Prakesh and Carver away from her, leaving her stranded hundreds of miles from home.
Riley is angry. She has one goal, and one goal only: find Janice Okwembu, and make her pay.
5. Prakesh? Or Carver?
There are two people in Riley’s life who she has come to depend on more than any other. One is her partner, the calm, cool-headed Air Lab technician Prakesh Kumar, a natural leader who rose to power on Outer Earth. The other is Aaron Carver, her fellow tracer: an aggressive joker with a penchant for fixing broken tech. Before, Riley would have said Prakesh was her lover, and Carver just a friend. But after the events of ZERO-G, she’s not so sure…
As she races across the Pacific Northwest to save them from a deadly threat, Riley knows she’ll have to choose between them…if either of them are still alive.
6. The reviews for the Outer Earth series have been mindblowing
Here’s a selection from reviews of TRACER:
“Incoming cliche’: blistering! If you like your yarns to take off at speed, this number should suit you.” – Sunday Sport
“The relentlessly fast pace gives the book strong momentum…” – SFX Magazine
“Exhilarating and guaranteed to keep you hooked until the very last page.” – Glamour Magazine
“Constant violence and escalating stakes keep the story moving forward at a bone-jarring pace, especially in the climax, where revelations and betrayals follow each other as quickly, and as dizzyingly, as Riley vaults down stairwells.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Tracer is the literary equivalent of a base jump: fast, exhilarating and unforgettable, and once you start it you can’t stop. I loved it.” – Sarah Lotz, author of The Three
“Fast-paced, well-written and well-researched, Tracer sets a new standard for all-action SF.” – Ken MacLeod, author of the Fall Revolution and Engines of Light series
“As before, Boffard’s story moves lightning fast…the action is tense and brisk, a fine beach read for thriller fans.” – Publishers Weekly
“Taught and tough, with nerve-shredding tension and jaw-rattling pace” – Weekend Sport
“Boffard pulls out all the tricks of the thriller handbook, and stuffs Zero-G with as much heart-stopping action as possible, all written with a graceful pace that never lets up, but also never loses focus or hook…Zero-G is just about everything sci-fi Hollywood blockbusters wish they could be, but ultimately fail to be, making Zero-G as vital as it is entertaining.” – Starburst Magazine