February Books 9) Evening's Empires, by Paul McAuley
Second of the BSFA nominees for me; I loved the way it started, with an asteroid escape similar to that of Adam Roberts' Jack Glass last year (though with less sex and violence); it's apparently the fourth of a series, but I didn't feel I'd lost out by missing the first three. Our protagonist, having escaped the destruction of his family, preserving the severed head of a scientist with various secrets preserved in its brain, treks across the outer solar system, finding allies, betrayal, lost relatives, and precious secrets. It's an excellent hard sf / space opera tale - we don't get so many of those these days - and each section of the book is named after an sf classic of the past - Childhood's End, "Marooned off Vesta", The Caves of Steel, Pirates of the Asteroids, "The Cold Equations" and Downward to the Earth. I'd have liked perhaps a little more insight into our central character, but it is a front-runner for my ballot (two down, three to go).