L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Author, Modesitt, Author Tor $27.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0802-3

Set 200 years after the events in The Parafaith Wars (1997), Modesitt's complex, fast-paced stand-alone offers a traditional space-adventure hero and heavy doses of philosophy laced with ethical issues. Commander Van C. Albert, of the Republican Space Force of Taran, moves with bewildering speed from command of the Fergus , a light cruiser where he's serving under a cloud, to military adviser to the Taran ambassador on the planet Gotland, Scandya system. Feeling both confused and inadequate to the post, he sets out to research the untimely death of his predecessor and uncovers mortal intrigue among three large planet clusters. He gets the chance to display his ability to both reason and act when he saves the Scandyan leader from assassination. While recovering from near-fatal injuries, he realizes the complicity of his own interplanetary government in acts of war and oppression. He later becomes a sort of "fixer" for the mysterious IIS (Integrated Information Systems), a private organization that's backed by the even more mysterious Farhkan race. As ever, Albert tries to make the best decisions in tragic situations. Despite some expository lumps and wooden characterization, thoughtful SF readers will appreciate this weighty tale of humanitarian intentions and social speculations. (Oct. 22)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Discover what to read next