“Ragamuffin” by Tobias S. Buckell
Publication Date: June 2008 (reprint)
Number of Pages: 342
The Benevolent Satrapy rule an empire of forty-eight worlds, linked by thousands of wormholes strung throughout the galaxy. Human beings, while technically “free,” mostly skulk around the fringes of the Satrapy, struggling to get by. The secretive alien Satraps tightly restrict the technological development of the species under their control. Entire worlds have been placed under interdiction, cut off from the rest of the universe.
Descended from the islanders of lost Earth, the Ragamuffins are pirates and smugglers, plying the lonely spaceways around a dead wormhole. For years, the Satraps have tolerated the Raga, but no longer. Now they have embarked on a campaign of extermination, determined to wipe out the unruly humans once and for all.
But one runaway woman may complicate their plans. Combat enabled, Nashara is more machine than flesh, and she carries inside her a doomsday weapon that could reduce the entire galaxy to chaos. A hunted fugitive, she just wants to get home before she’s forced to destroy civilization—and herself.
Source: Tobias Buckell’s web site
Ragamuffin was a fun read from start to finish. Nashara is an awesome character who starts out just wanting to get home and ends up being drawn into the middle of a conflict that has been building around her. What the summary doesn’t tell you is that there is a whole section of the book devoted to another set of characters – who in the third section meet up with Nashara and the characters she drew around her in the first section of the book. I loved the whole adventure of it – the battles and the quest for freedom that fills out the story.
I’m going to be reading this book again at some point as there were some parts were I wasn’t sure what was happening. It was mainly the sections where there were a lot of characters to keep track of and a lot of events in a short period of time. It’s bound to happen when reading a epic science fiction novel with space battles and everything else, which would be why I sometimes prefer watching Science Fiction in movies/tv shows rather than reading a book because it’s easier to keep track of things visually. I do think Buckell managed to keep what was going on clear, most of the time, and I’m sure a second reading will clarify a few things.
I also discovered that all three of Buckell’s novels (“Crystal Rain”, “Ragamuffin”, and “Sly Mongoose”) are set in the same universe. Since the author is on twitter (and I’ve been following him for a bit) I went ahead and asked if they needed to be read in order. His answer was:
“it helps to read them in order, but I’m told many read them out of order LOL.” – (@tobiasbuckell).
Since I did enjoy reading Ragamuffin I’m definitely getting the first and third books! It’s not exactly clear from the descriptions I’ve found how many of the same characters are in each book or exactly when along the timeline each one takes place. What would be awesome is a timeline for each of the three novels and perhaps a summary of the main players …