Mistworld is the first of Simon R. Green's The Twilight of the Empire trilogy which is, in turn, a prelude to his Deathstalker series. It was published in 1992 but has just been re-released as an eBook through Open Roads Media. It is nice to see it back in print for the author knows how to build a world.
Mistworld is a planet that struggles with the Empire, a powerful realm that has the ability to destroy worlds that rebel from their authority. Mistworld is a bastion of freedom but is populated by outlaws and rebels which tends to destabilize its society. The planet barely hangs on due to its army of psychic protectors that enacted a shield over the planet. But the Empire's armies are approaching, various Mistworld forces are at odds with each other, and betrayal is always a possibility.
I like this type of dark dystopian fiction and Green does it well. This gritty type of future underworld gets its start from William Gibson cyberpunk novels and various science fiction writers have elaborated on the theme. Gone are Asimov's and Heinlein's vision of a optimistic future. Green's vision is of a technological advanced, psychically endowed society that is still immersed in class struggles, corruption, crime-infested under-layers, and dictatorial rulers. Green manages to put just enough space opera in it to make it slightly less dark and loaded with action. The author fills his tale with cat burglars, psychic hit men, and corrupt officials yet never loses track of these characters nor of the plot. Mistworld turns out to be a nice start in a saga that promises to be entertaining in its own dark and cynical way. Let's hope Open Road Media has plans to re-release the rest of The Twilight of the Empire.