cover image Hunt for the Hydra

Hunt for the Hydra

Jason Fry. Harper, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-223020-1

In this kickoff to the Jupiter Pirates series, strained diplomatic relations between Earth and the Jovian Union exacerbate the dangers of interplanetary space travel, as well as the livelihood of the Hashoones, a family of privateers. Twelve-year-old Tycho and his siblings compete for their mother’s approval, as only one of them can succeed her as captain of the Shadow Comet; however, they also work together to pilot the Comet and capture other ships. Fry, the author of numerous Star Wars–themed books, combines the futuristic with classic touches that hearken back to Earth (for example, a wig-wearing judge pounds a gavel and checks his mediapad). Technical terms (a glossary is included) and physical challenges add texture to the story. Tycho’s cyborg grandfather Huff and Vesuvia, the Comet’s software program, provide comic relief when they bicker (“What if I engage this blaster cannon in yer cognitive module”), while larger moral questions—such as what constitutes true piracy—bring a degree of gravitas. Danger and political intrigue blend with wholesome family dynamics, making for an entertaining space adventure. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rob McQuilkin, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Jan.)