Starfire by Charles Sheffield
StarfireOver 25 years before this novel starts, Earth had been blasted by a shock wave of light, heat, and radiated particles. The planet has slowly recovered, and now the population is preparing for another wave of slower than light particle bombardment. Sky City has been built and a huge, gossamer shield is being built out in the solar system.
Now, in 2053, there are troubles with the shield. The construction is fraught with problems and is behind schedule. Also, there is a serial killer in Sky City. Young girls are being murdered. John Hyslop is the chief engineer in charge of the shield. He finds himself yanked off the project to accompany Maddy Wheatstone in the procurement of more raw material. But he is pulled back after the visit of two physicists to…
Celine Tanaka was on the Mars mission that had been returning to Earth during the first disaster. Now she is President of the United States, and one of the most powerful people in the world. At the end of a trying day, she is visited by two physicists. One is an old friend and lover. The other is a young, self taught woman. They have discovered that there is another particle wave coming sooner than expected. In fact, it is due within the next few months.
Earth’s agenda changes. So do the agendas of the rich and powerful, the politicians and the meglomaniacs. Now the space shield has to be abandoned to deal with the new threat.
This is a splendid sequel to Aftermath. It blends hard science with believable physics supposition with a murder mystery. A few characters reappear from the first novel, and a new generation is introduced in this one. I hope there is a third story in this group.