Be My Enemy: triumphant sequel to Planesrunner

Today marks the publication of Be My Enemy, the absolutely triumphant sequel to Ian McDonald's pulse-pounding young-adult science fiction novel Planesrunner.

Planesrunner -- a rollicking, multidimensional tale of a young boy who holds the key to infinite universes, seeking to rescue his physicist father from sinister powers -- finished on a brutal cliffhanger, leaving its readers gasping and cursing for more. Now we have it.

In Enemy, there's a lot more of what made Planesrunner great -- tremendous action scenes, cunning escapes, genius attacks on the ways that multidimensional travel might be weaponized, horrific glimpses of shadowy powers and sinister technologies.

But Enemy also has more of what makes McDonald's adult fiction some of the best work I've ever read: a gifted ear for poesie that makes the English language sing, the unapologetic presumption of the reader's ability to understand what's going on without a lot of hand-holding, and a technological mysticism that never explicitly says when the literal stops and the fantasy starts.

In Enemy, Everett, the young hero of Planesrunner, is confronted with multiple versions of himself from different worlds, all facing different versions of his crisis, and some not on his side. McDonald's handling of this is deft, going beyond the good Spock/evil Spock cliches and showing us how two "good" kids could start as multidimensional twins and end as mortal enemies.

If you held off on reading Planesrunner because you didn't want to commit to a series without knowing if the author could keep up the quality, have no fear. McDonald has proven himself handily. And if you read Planesrunner like me and have been slavering for the sequel ever since, rejoice -- the time is at hand!

Here are the first five chapters, courtesy of the kind folks at Pyr!

Be My Enemy


    1. I bought it for my kid, read it, loved it.  I gave it to him for his birthday.  He read 2 chapters and then lost it.

      I don’t know what to do.  He definitely doesn’t deserve another copy.

  1. The guy in the cover illustration bears a spooky resemblance to an English TV actor of the 1970s who starred in something like ‘Survivors’ or possibly ‘Dr Who’… I don’t know his name and can’t find him on IMDb. Does anyone else recognise that face?

    1. Hi,  Chris — That’s my cover art, and although I have no idea what you’re talking about, you’ve made me curious. :) If you find out, please holler? Thanks.

      1. Hi, John – I’m trying! (I’ve posted a link on Facebook hoping my Brit friends of a similar vintage will be able to identify the actor I mean. He was a bit of a cult star for a while). Incidentally, I wasn’t suggesting you’d appropriated his image, stolen his soul or otherwise been up to no good. It is an uncanny resemblance, though… unless my memory deceives me, which has NEVER happened before ;-)

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