cover image Inherit the Stars

Inherit the Stars

Tony Peak. Roc, $7.99 mass market (464p) ISBN 978-0-451-47653-1

Debut novelist Peak goes old-school in this slam-bang SF quest novel. Kivita Vondir is a spacefaring salvager who hunts for the technology of the long-lost Vim race. One find triggers interest from the theocratic Inheritors and their alien allies, the Sarrhdtuu. When she’s thrown together with Sar Redryll, a smuggler and rebel agent who is hired to jump her claim, they have to navigate the military moves of independent humans, the greed of “the cruelest pirate in the Cerutto Arm,” treachery from sidekicks, and the plots within plots of allies who do not trust them or one another. Peak does a good job at creating differentiable characters and cultures through the use of distinct language and speech patterns, and the central will they/won’t they romance may remind readers of Princess Leia and Han Solo. But the retro nature of the text sometimes undermines the physics (damaged spaceships “listed to starboard” like sinking ocean liners) and too often pushes the sentiment over into melodrama. (Nov.)