The Untaken Path by Frank Kennedy [8/10]

I can think of few hard science-fiction authors as ambitious as Frank Kennedy, who with ”The Untaken Path” has woven seven books of space operatic magic (the series is called Beyond the Impossible) . And he is not done yet. The series’ plotline has twisted and caromed, ever expanding within an empire of space into alternative universes, and there has not been a moment when the author has not been firmly in control. A truly impressive cast of characters, some as reprehensible as anything in Game of Thrones, has variously been featured in the first six books, and now in The Untaken Path, they all come together, humans and immortals who waged bloody war against each other but now must unite against an even greater danger. The book features a wonderfully realized interstellar unifying conference, its politics as intelligently presented as anything by John Scalzi or Arkady Martine. And in a twist weirder than any yet in the series, yet credibly presented, one of the series’ most memorable characters, the immortal, savage, irascible Royal, finds himself in a world-out-of-time at the center of the universe, playing a part that he cannot comprehend. The Untaken Path is one of my favorite instalments in the series and you should devour it after the previous six, just to be ahead of the author’s upcoming ascent to fame.

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