Earth is very low on the pecking order of the galactic stage. Our closest associates are the Nidu, who are pretty much low-lives themselves. After a diplomatic incident caused by a disgruntled and vengeful State Department employee, the Nidu have Earth in their sights in a Machiavellian scheme involving a coup d’état and a sheep. The sheep, a very special breed, is to be used for the Nidu succession ceremony. Enter Harry Creek, war veteran and problem solver, who now has to find the sheep and keep it and himself alive while being chased by both the Nidu and the Department of Defense, the latter having its own plans.
Confused yet? I was. The first hundred pages introduce a plethora of characters, motivations and subplots. It is almost overwhelming. Thankfully, Scalzi’s trademark humor is out in force. Once the plot gets going the numerous twists and turns have you guessing, but the fun never stops. It is an action comedy, and a very good one. With a dry wit and a well-tuned sense of the absurd and the cliché, Scalzi deftly maneuvers the story to a momentous, unexpected and hilarious conclusion.