cover image Stowaway (The Icarus Chronicles #1)

Stowaway (The Icarus Chronicles #1)

John David Anderson. Walden Pond, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-298594-1

In this episodic spacefaring adventure, the first in a duology, Anderson (One Last Shot) spins a fast-paced tale of piracy among the stars. Life aboard scientific research vessel the Beagle is just fine for asthmatic 12-year-old Leo Fender, who lives there with his older brother and father, all cued as white, after first contact with the alien Aykari in 2044 introduced humans to the galactic community. When the marauding, lizardlike Djarik attack, kidnapping Leo’s scientist father and stealing the coveted ventasium that fuels the ship, it’s clear that the now-helpless Beagle may not be found in time to save its inhabitants. So when it’s boarded by pirates, led by the flamboyant Bastian Black, Leo stows away on the pirate ship in a desperate attempt to get help. He’s soon discovered, and though the interspecies crew of the Icarus initially distrusts Leo, he slowly earns a place among the crew as they move from one escapade to the next, caught up in a messy galactic conflict. Featuring a winning cast of misfits who stumble into unexpected kinship, Anderson employs warm humor and pop culture references to ground the narrative against cosmic-level stakes and underlying commentary about exploitation and the cost of war. Ages 8–12. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Aug.)