The Exodus Towers by Jason M. Hough

The sudden appearance of a second space elevator in Brazil only deepens the mystery about the aliens who provided it: the Builders. Scavenger crew captain Skyler Luiken and brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma have formed a colony around the new Elevator’s base, utilizing mobile towers to protect humans from the Builders’ plague. But they are soon under attack from a roving band of plague-immune soldiers. Cut off from the colony, Skyler must wage a one-man war against the new threat as well as murderous subhumans and thugs from Darwin—all while trying to solve the puzzle of the Builders’ master plan . . . before it’s too late for the last vestiges of humanity.

Following the events in the last novel, Skyler is separated from the rest of his group and teams up with immune survivors in Brazil against a ruthless thug. Tania tries to lead from the new Elevator, but having to trade with the loathsome Russell. And Russell makes a deal with the leader of a religious cult, which he comes to regret. Just when you think you can’t hate anyone more than Russell, we’re introduced to two more characters who are more than a match for his evil.

Once again, Hough has done an exceptional job of character-building and continuing the story with drama, suspense, and intrigue. The Exodus Towers is a solid sequel that continues to tease about the nature and purpose of the alien builders. Meanwhile, the dark and gritty, post-apocalyptic setting is engaging. And the story is even more fast-paced and exciting than the first. I’m looking forward to the third in the impressive Dire Earth Cycle and finally learning the answers teased in these first two novels.