Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future by Mike Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Bandit, murderer, known to all, seen by none...has he killed a thousand men? Has he saved a dozen world? His legend is as large as the Rim itself, his trail as elusive as a wisp of starlight in the empty realms of space. The reward for him is the largest in history.
It has to be said that Mike Resnick writes very enjoyable, fun and entertaining stories and this is no exception. Santiago is the second full-length novel in the 'Birthright' universe that I've read where Man has spread across/infested the galaxy and I can see why it's such a popular book with sci-fi fans. It's a space-opera with a distinct 'Western' feel, with outlaws, gamblers, drunks and bounty hunters all involved in the affairs of Man across the space that he shares with various other sentient alien species. The story is centered around the hunt for the elusive Santiago who is dubbed 'The King of the Outlaws' in popular culture. Various parties are all trying for either Santiago's scalp or wealth or attention or all of the above, and we follow the hunt along an twisting path along which we meet some colorful characters and see many different planets. The story moves along at a nice pace that is brisk yet still relaxing to read, and the format of following the epic poem by the fictional character Black Orpheus to introduce the characters was excellent and adds an extra layer to the tale. The plot is nothing spectacular, and I'd more-or-less worked out how it was going to finish a bit before the end but this didn't ruin it for me at all and Resnick's writing really makes for a fun read. His character development is excellent and he does really well with this one where he needs to introduce such a large cast of characters without getting too bogged down and neglecting the overall story. An excellent book and another one that should be made into a movie. Highly recommended.
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