Reread: Finity’s End, by C.J. Cherryh

Finity’s End. An Alliance legend. A name and a ship that features all over the tapestry that is the Company War books. Appropriate, thus, that the last book in the suite bear that name.

The story doesn’t start there, though. It starts with a boy named Fletcher, a nobody and someone who have had to fight to get to where he is – in a graduate program on Downbelow, the planet around which Pell Station circles and one of the main reasons that Earth has lost its dominion in the Beyond.

He think that he is happy, and he think that he has achieved some degree of control over his life. A fair trek from the lonely five-year old boy whose mother died OD’ing on trank – the drug spacers take to endure jump space; when a ship leaves normal time-space and skips over the continuum; light-year dives beyond body and mind can handle.

Going out in space is the very last thing he want to do. What do his voice matter when the Powers That Be decides it is time to gather all loose strings? Fletcher, he is just collateral… His mother belonged to Finity’s End, she was a Neihart, the Finity Family, and she got left on Pell when the ship had to make a break for it. They promised her to be back in a year, but one year became two, became three… and finally she could not stand it, and left. In all respects. Now Finity is back, again, and this time to claim the War is over, and to pick up one of its stray children. Fletcher. Who doesn’t want to go. Who try desperately not to be caught. Who still ends up on Finity’s End.

On Finity he meets his real family, what is left of it. During a period he have thought of as Peace Finity’s End has been out hunting the jump points, hunting Mazianni pirates, taking heavy casualties. Some died in battle, as the ship took hits. Others just faded away when life during endless guerilla raids felt too filled with horrors, too void of future. There are no small children left, and only precious few teens, and those have all grown up with war as a normal state of things. And their sensibilities are deeply offended when the Old Man, legendary Captain James Robert Neihart, decides to leave pirate-hunting and return to life as a merchanter. Their hair-trigger reflexes can’t get high on making deals in the market and they secretly suspects the Captain of getting doddery.

Little do they understand of the political side of what their Captain is doing – trying to put and end to the black market that feeds the pirates…

The book can get a bit dense, trying to pack so many aspects into one single story – a bit like a scientific paper where the footnotes are 70% of the volume. The result is worth every effort, though, as Finity’s End – both book and ship – puts the finishing sentence to the story about how the Beyond broke free from Earth dominion; the Company Wars, and their afterbirth, and the people affected by it.

A must read, If I were to chose.


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