Years Hidden in a Night
When seventeen-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be his last. After all, the planet he’s orbiting is frozen and sunless, and the cities are dead. But when Toby wakes again, he’s surprised to discover a thriving planet, a strange and prosperous galaxy, and something stranger still — that he’s been asleep for 14,000 years.
Welcome to the Lockstep Empire, where civilization is kept alive by careful hibernation. Here cold sleeps can last decades and waking moments mere weeks. Its citizens survive for millenia, traveling asleep on long voyages between worlds. Not only is Lockstep the new center of the galaxy, but Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own.
Toby’s brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. Suspicious of the return of his long-lost brother, whose rightful inheritance also controls the lockstep hibernation cycles, Peter sees Toby as a threat to his regime. Now, with the help of a lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization.
School Library Journal featured Lockstep in its Best Books 4 Teens 2014 list!
Schroeder is known for both his incredibly imaginative post-human futures (Lady of Mazes) and his action/adventure novels (his Virga sequence). In Lockstep, he successfully fuses both of those aspects together into one enjoyable package for the YA market.
Lockstep tells a dense and textured story: a family-history mystery, a revolutionary adventure, and glimpses of Stapledonian panoramas, all studded with marvels and vistas and appealing science-fictional ideas and devices... dizzying and rich.
Did Schroeder create something new and reinvented [with Lockstep]? ... He instead transported a small part of space opera back in time, resurrecting something considered dead. He created conditions under which the charm and wonder of classic space opera could live again. This is an equally valuable feat.
Karl Schroeder expertly draws us into this richly-imagined future corner of the galaxy and keeps the action moving at a pace that won't let you take any breaks for a nap.
Lean and hugely engaging ... and highly recommended.