Review copy provided by Tor.
This is the sequel to The Quantum Thief and The Fractal Prince, and I recommend that you start with them. You might be able to pick up what qupting is and what the gogols are and all the other elements of Rajaniemi’s world from context, but I think it would be pretty rough going, honestly; these are pretty idea-dense books to begin with, and it’s probably better to start with Jean le Flambeur at his own beginning.
I do find that sometimes I pick up a book and am reminded immediately of what was initially charming in the series, and this was one of those. Jean’s early interactions, trying to keep juggling a great many flaming torches to find Mieli and fix everything and keep a young Matjek happy, made me smile, went very quickly, made me want very much to keep reading. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the ending, and there was a Moomin along the way. (I can be bribed with Moomins. I can even be coaxed past a very brief and virtual zombie appearance with Moomins. Especially NOT SIMULTANEOUSLY.) But it was the beginning of the book that made me say: ah, yes. This is why I was happy to pick this series up and dive into it.
So: there is zooming around the solar system, there is forming and reforming oneself and one’s environment, there is working around what one thought one knew. There are reversals and betrayals and coming back for people and lots and lots of zoku jewels. There are iterations and considerations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. It has, in short, the things that one has been looking for in one of these books. And if you haven’t been looking for one of these books, go back and start. They’re nerdy good fun, and they’re not very long. And now there are three of them.