In an isolated mini-galaxy called the Spin, everything is artificial. As natural as its suns and planets seem, each atom was placed with purpose by ancient unknown builders. The Spin is a rough neighborhood, from the expanding high-tech Hegemony dominating the Outer Spin to the horrific little lower-tech empires that periodically plague the Inner Spin. Every once in a while, someone discovers an artifact belonging to the architects, and causes chaos.
Fleare Haas is the only daughter of Viklun Haas, ultra-rich industrialist and a major player in the Hegemony. After a childhood spent watching her father scheme and exploit his way to the top, she harbors a bit of a rebellious streak. Fleare's flirtation with a recently destroyed rebel group finds her imprisoned in an odd monastery. When she is rescued by an old lover/comrade, now transformed into a cloud of nanomachines, she gets caught up in dangerous tides of shifting and shifty interests. Meanwhile, an aristocrat in an empire of pillaged worlds called the Fortunate Protectorate plots how best to use a potentially powerful artifact, pitting the barbaric Inner Spin against everyone else.
Creation Machine is Andrew Bannister's debut novel and the first entry in the Spin trilogy. Bannister combines succinct world-building with impulsive readability and likable characters. Creation Machine finds frequent parallels with the best of Iain M. Banks's Culture series. Perhaps the novel's greatest flaw is that it isn't longer. Thankfully, the second book in the Spin trilogy, Iron Gods, is projected for July 2019. --Tobias Mutter, freelance reviewer