I will admit I’ve been kind of dreading Ash, first because I didn’t think I’d be able to find a copy, second because I knew if I did find a copy the novel was much longer than the books I had thus far reviewed and would require a lot of time to read and thirdly because reputation has this as very dark and I didn’t want to spend 1100+ pages being kicked in the face by the author. As it turned out, one of the local used bookstores had a reasonably priced trade paperback, although it is not exactly bedtime reading, Ash is nowhere near as grim as I had expected, and it was an astonishingly quick read because I had a hard time putting it down.
The Earth of the near-future has faster-than-light travel of a particularly powerful sort; the entire Milky Way is just 90 days from Earth. Habitable worlds are common enough1 and much to the Dominion of Earth ‘s surprise generally inhabited. How to adapt when there are millions of alien civilizations on the Dominion’s doorstep?