Frank Kennedy pens some of the most kinetic yet cerebral space opera sci-fi around. “The Simmering Seas” launches a new Beyond The Impossible series and, if anything, the plot in this novel is even more complex and frenetic than that of the brilliant The Impossible Future quartet. The seemingly impotent Collectorate from that quartet is now vanquished and on one of its former colonies, the ringed planet Hokkaido, strange events are afoot. Something is poisoning the land. The novel’s most captivating lead character, Kara Syung, daughter in a ruling dynastic family, ventures out to discover the truth of the weirdness all around her. The other core characters, including an ex-Collectorate adventurer, and a charismatic gangster apparently immortal, tend to get buried under the unfurling and increasingly bold plot revelations, but the author maintains careful control, as ever. Kennedy is a stylish, ebullient writer and his ability to envisage both grand intergalactic dimensions and nitty-gritty local settings is wonderful. If you crave space opera, grab The Simmering Seas, or, better still, begin at the begin with The Last Everything and lap up this and the next five bold dramas.