This is book number 3 in the The Comet Cycle series.
The third book in Percy’s innovative and acclaimed Comet Cycle, The Sky Vault, follows an investigation of a mysterious weather phenomena in Fairbanks, Alaska, and a government secret buried since WWII.
The comet, Cain, came from beyond our solar system, its debris containing elements unknown. Now, in the isolated region of Fairbanks, Alaska, the skies shift and stretch as an interstellar dust cloud seeds the atmosphere. When a plane shudders its way through pulpy, swirling, bruise-shaped clouds, lit with sudden cracks of lightning, the sky opens and the aircraft vanishes…but only for a minute.
When the flight lands, everyone on board and in the community will be changed forever. This includes Chuck Bridges, a local DJ and conspiracy theorist who was on board and later reported dead to his family, but not before proclaiming that something inside the clouds was speaking to him; and now his son, Theo, must chase down answers to the mystery his father unlocked. He’ll find himself at odds with Sophie Chen, an agent with a shadowy employer desperate to secure the black box from the airplane, as well as Rolf Wagner, a widowed sheriff investigating a series of increasingly strange and unsettling reports. And then there is Joanna Straub, a contractor reconstructing a top-secret government lab active during WWII and shuttered deep within the nearby White Mountains.
The answer to the comet’s origin is about to be unveiled, and its impact on Earth is more treacherous and sublime than humanity could imagine.
“[In The Ninth Metal] debris from a comet drops a fabulously valuable new metal on Northfall, MN., turning it into a bloody, brawling boomtown. Great characters, fine writing, totally engrossing.” — Stephen King
“When Benjamin Percy publishes a novel, I have got to read that novel. The Ninth Metal continues his streak of thrilling, incisive genre-bending goodness. It’s a sci-fi novel, a crime novel, and a superhero novel too. Audacious and intelligent and exactly what I was dying to read.” — Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
“Whether you choose to think of him as the Elmore Leonard of rural Minnesota or the Stephen King of science fiction, Ben Percy—with his extraordinary and unrelenting eye—dishes up humanity like some kind of otherworldly blue-plate special, at once deeply familiar and wildly new.” — Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling author, on The Ninth Metal
“Take one part dystopia, one part sci-fi, two parts apocalypse, then ride them roughshod through a bleak and bloody western, and it still wouldn’t get close to what Ben Percy does here, which is blow open the core of humanity’s dark heart.” — Marlon James, Booker Prize–winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf, on The Ninth Metal
“Mr. Percy has given us a smart twist on the War of the Worlds plot. In H.G. Wells’s story, microbes are the key to defeating the Martian war machines. In The Unfamiliar Garden, a different sort of weapon will be necessary. But the seeds of disaster, you might say, are quite literally already with us, just waiting for one more evolutionary jump. Like viruses.” — Wall Street Journal
“Wildly entertaining and highly original mélange of northern Minnesota lore and slam-bang near-future SF action…This is an impressive series starter.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)