cover image Impulse


Dave Bara. DAW, $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0996-8

Enthusiasm reinvigorates familiar material in this lively space opera debut. Centuries after civil war shattered an interstellar civilization, planetary enclaves are beginning to reconnect, with the aid of tech-wizard Historians from Earth. Studly young Lt. Peter Cochrane of the Quantar Royal Navy is suddenly given huge responsibilities when he’s assigned to help investigate a mysterious assault on a lightship that was exploring close to the ruins of the old empire. Peter has plenty of concerns to keep him busy aboard the lightship Impulse, but he also finds himself increasingly attracted to his immediate superior officer, Cmdr. Dobrina Kierkopf. The action kicks in fast, as Peter, Dobrina, and a few others are stranded aboard a little landing craft when ancient machines attack, while a renegade Historian steals the Impulse. From that point, the plot gets complicated. This energetic mélange of tried-and-true elements—futuristic jargon, military and romantic tactics, and multiple levels of skullduggery—easily grabs the reader’s attention; more impressive is that Bara’s story holds that attention all the way to the end. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, Jabberwocky Literary Agency. (Feb.)