A supremely assured first novel that charts a new world as it is destroyed by old enmities.
Two narrators tell the story of the simmering tensions between their two communities as they travel out to a new planet, colonise it, then destroy themselves when the tensions turn into outright war.
Adam Roberts is a new writer completely in command of the SF genre. This is a novel that is at once entertaining and philosophical. The attitudes and prejudices of its characters are subtlety drawn and ring completely true despite the alien circumstances they find themselves in. The grasp of science and its impact on people is instinctive. But above all it is the epic and colourful world building that marks SALT out the planet Salt rivals Dune in its desolation and is a suitably biblical setting for a novel that is powered by the corrupting influence of imperfectly remembered religions on distant societies.
From the early scenes set on a colony ship towed by a massive ice meteorite, to the description of a planet covered in sodium chloride, to the chilling narrative of a world sliding into its first war, this is a novel from a writer who shouts star quality.