Valerius is dead. He watched himself pass away through the eyes of a golem his mind was copied into. The new body may be free of the physical and genetic defects that made his old life so hard, but his thoughts are still on the mysteries he never got to solve. Chief among them is the question of what happens to all the street kids who simply disappear from Autumn. Who is taking them? And what happens to them? Finding the answers takes Valerius back to some very dangerous places and people. The golem androids may be built to go on forever, but not if someone dismantles them.
This long-awaited sequel to A Fall in Autumn picks up shortly after the end of the previous book, so you'll need to have read that story first. The transference of Valerius' mind into a golem is strongly hinted at in the first volume, so that should be no surprise. The process of getting to know his new “pre-owned” body is a constant subplot in the story. It gets quite interesting when Valerius finds remnants of the previous tenant in his mind.
The post-post-post-apocalyptic world in which the book is set is described in rich detail. The idea that humanity will rise to create a great civilization, only to fall again and again, is undoubtedly an idea well-supported by our history. The writing brings Valerius' world alive with a sparse style reminiscent of old-school detective stories.
Once again, the prose is so rich with ideas that this is a relatively slow read, at least for me. There are several memorable passages in the book. Interestingly, some of the more notable lines in the book are in regard to sex work. The old, "artisanal" human Valerius spent much of his youth selling his body. He is very unapologetic about it, and some of the most spirited passages are Valerius defending how he earned a meager living.
This book completes the story of Valerius and his transition from human to android. There are no real loose ends left dangling, and yet the beauty of detective stories is there's always a possibility of a new case coming along.
“New Life in Autumn” is available from Amazon.