About the Book

The Benevolent Satrapy rule an empire of forty-eight worlds, linked by thousands of wormholes strung throughout the galaxy. Human beings, while technically “free,” mostly skulk around the fringes of the Satrapy, struggling to get by. The secretive alien Satraps tightly restrict the technological development of the species under their control. Entire worlds have been placed under interdiction, cut off from the rest of the universe.

Descended from the islanders of lost Earth, the Ragamuffins are pirates and smugglers, plying the lonely spaceways around a dead wormhole. For years, the Satraps have tolerated the Raga, but no longer. Now they have embarked on a campaign of extermination, determined to wipe out the unruly humans once and for all.

But one runaway woman may complicate their plans. Combat enabled, Nashara is more machine than flesh, and she carries inside her a doomsday weapon that could reduce the entire galaxy to chaos. A hunted fugitive, she just wants to get home before she’s forced to destroy civilization—and herself.

Ragamuffin Tor Reissue cover


A Nebula Award Finalist
A Prometheus Award Finalist
Caribbean Review of Books Top 9 Books of 2007


German: Bastei Luebbe
Czech: Jules Verne Club

Praise for Ragamuffin:

“Buckell represents an important force behind the genre’s change… Buckell’s work deals with complex racial issues in a way worthy of the self-proclaimed “literature of ideas” head-on, with no visible flinching while still managing to give its readers a rollicking good time.” Seattle Times

“A thrilling fast-paced sci-fi adventure novel with some interesting themes, and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in speculative fiction.” The Caribbean Review of Books

“The characters are solid, the action well done, and all in all, RAGAMUFFIN is a winner.” Contra Costa Times

“Buckell plays with Caribbean and Aztec cultures, bending their exotic flavor to technology-flavored ends. Though the ending is never in doubt, the twisty ride getting there is a lot of fun.” Publishers Weekly

“First-class space adventure, with tip-top characterization, action, and world-building. May Buckell enjoy a long, productive career.” Booklist

“A well written fast paced tale.” Midwest Book Review

“A compelling sophomore effort from Buckell. He’s taken a number of hoary sf tropes and breathed new life into them. His worldbuilding is beyond solid and his characters are sympathetic and highly memorable.” Romantic Times

“Part of the Sci Fi Channel’s ‘Essential Book’ series, [Ragamuffin] establishes the author as a signature voice of Afro-Caribbean speculative fiction. Fans of Nalo Hopkinson should enjoy this colorful and vibrant tale of the ‘good fight.’” Library Journal

“Exciting and inventive. The story is too rich and interesting to spoil. It’s space opera, of course, but a heavily tetured one. Buckell is quickly proving himself a writer to shelve there with C.J. Cherryh, Alastair Reynolds, Dan Simmons and those few other writers who have managed to adopt the advantages of mainstream literature without giving up the skilled storytelling and sense of wonder of old style SF.” Critical Mass

“Quite impressive. Buckell is not simply repeating himself but expanding on his first book and building his talents. The real fun of Ragamuffin is the complex universe and backstory, developed through hints in the first book and made more concrete in this one.” SF Revu

“Tobias Buckell comes as close as anyone in the opening chapters of this book to reproducing the frissons of one of my favorite novels: Earthblood (1996), by Keith Laumer and Rosel George Brown. The sense of humans downtrodden by aliens, with the lone-wolf protagonist bravely fighting to restore the race’s glory–all of that comes across delightfully, and it’s grand stuff. Like Laumer and Brown, Buckell also has a keen grasp of sensory detail. His future environments are incredibly rich in smells, tactility and visuals. One gets instantly immersed in the sense of a truly lived-in future.
“Buckell keeps all his plates spinning wildly and entertainingly enough to make the whole scenario ultimately a cohesive, comprehensible and entertaining one. This book is full of wild-eyed action…feats of bravery, exotic beings and odd ways of thought, startling uses of technology and bold manifestos on freedom.” SciFi.Com

“There’s a reason these novels are being touted as this season’s ‘sci-fi must-haves.’ Don’t miss out.” GreenMan Review

“[Buckell] demonstrated again that adventure and well-written, high-concept speculation are not as mutually exclusive as they seem to be these days. With CRYSTAL RAIN or as a standalone story, RAGAMUFFIN is first-class science fiction.” Bookgasm

“It’s just as fast paced and thrilling as in the first book. I read Ragamuffin nonstop and was only sorry when I closed it that I’ll have to wait again to spend more time in this splendid universe.” BookLoons

“We’re got ample evidence here that science fiction is alive, well and kicking ass.” The Agony Column

“Hard hitting and fast moving, “Ragamuffin” sucked me in at the first page and left me gasping for breath by the time it finished. “Ragamuffin” was great fun to read and I look forward to seeing more of Tobias Buckell’s work in the future.” Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

“Buckell is one of a number of young writers who are redefining the genre, creating amazing new books and stories the likes of which the science fiction world hasn’t seen in far too long. Both Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin are excellent places for new readers to discover the current sf genre. These books are accessible for readers unfamiliar with the genre, yet deep enough to be enjoyed by even veteran sf readers. I predict that in the coming years new readers will enter the genre thanks to excellent books like Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin–books which are fun to read yet also examine life from the big-picture view unique to science fiction. I have seen the future, and it’s going to be an amazing science fiction ride!” Monsters & Critics

“Buckell is a powerful new voice in science fiction, filled with the lyrical accents of Jamaica and highlighted with shades of Aztec culture.” Curled Up with a Good Book

“If Crystal Rain hinted at the promise of Tobias Buckell’s inchoate talents, Ragamuffin is the delivery. Ragamuffin shored up Toby Buckell’s stature as a leader… It’s adrenalizing fun all the way through.” SF Reviews

“A thrilling ride, particularly one of the most exciting chase scenes I can recall…This is grand space opera on a human scale.” Ideomancer

“A very satisfying read, providing me with a lot of entertaining hours spanning over the 300 odd pages. An enjoyable novel with memorable characters to whom I look forward meeting again in the next novel Sly Mongoose. An accomplished second novel by a clearly talented author.” Fantasy Book Spot

“Buckell is an action-packed, fun author of both subtly and brevity…RAGAMUFFIN builds on the strengths of CRYSTAL RAIN in a huge escalation of scale. These Caribbean-inspired books are loads of fun with something to offer all fans–highly recommended.” Nethspace

“…creates a believable and hugely enjoyable universe…” Walker of Worlds