Paperback: 396 pages
Publisher: Orbit (1 Nov 2001)
This is the first of MacLeod's Engines of Light series.
Cosmonaut Keep. What a redolent title, with its Soviet spacefarers and its feudal dwelling! And this novel has such an oddly different setup - two time lines, the earlier in a Russian-dominated (and very sovietised, politically) EU, the later some long time later out in the galaxy, where three races, human, Saur (intelligent saurians), and the Krakens (giant intelligent space-going squid of exactly the sort to give Margaret Atwood nightmares). And it's the krakens that know how to get around - the rest can't, so if they wish to keep going from star to star, it's on sufferance.
Back in our alternative near future, certain disagreements are happening at an ESA space station.
Of course, there are links between this past and this future.
MacLeod is a political animal, and he shows a certain inevitability in the factional shifts and changes that propel much of the story. Since he's not a US-style libertarian, his politics aren't based on the same tired old axioms as too many other writers' work, and this also brings a freshness to the story, since you know you're not about to get the nth instantiation of The Man Who Sold The Moon.
It's time I reread this. Again.