Hunger Makes the Wolf, by Alex Wells (Angry Robot, 2017). A colleague described this book as “Mad Max Meets Dune.” I’d amend that to “Mad Max: Fury Road Meets Dune,” because yes, there are wild motorcycle gangs, and yes, it’s set on a planet hauntingly reminiscent of Arrakis (spice mining and all), but what sets this apart is its heroine. Hob begins as one of many castaways who find their place in the mostly-lawless gangs. Like the gang’s leader, she has an ability that might be thought magical: she can generate fire from her fingertips. Not only that, she’s bold and just about fearless, and doesn’t take guff from anyone. She’s been slowly working her way back up the ranks after a near-disastrous lapse in judgment when the mining conglomerate that essentially rules the planet begins taking an unhealthy interest in its local inhabitants – and Hob. Working conditions for the miners and farmers become increasingly oppressive as the megacorp, TriRift, tightens its grip. Any attempt to emigrate to a more hospitable world leads to seizure and secret imprisonment, while TriRift scientists attempt to unravel the changes every inhabitant of the planet manifests. One of those being held and experimented on is Hob’s dearest friend. The plot moves briskly along, from one twist to the next, with nifty revelations at every turn and tension escalating to a satisfying climax. Once I got past the resemblance with other books I’d read, which took about two pages, I enjoyed this action adventure thoroughly.