cover image Tripoint


C. J. Cherryh. Warner Books, $19.95 (377pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51780-5

In a psychologically compelling coming-of-age novel, Cherryh (Downbelow Station; Cyteen) continues her tales of a human-dominated space attempting to find equilibrium in the aftermath of war. Tom Bowe-Hawkins, young crew member of the family ship Sprite, was conceived in rape and is growing up with a chip on his shoulder. He is caught up in the revenge planned by his mother, Marie Kirgov Hawkins, against his father, Austin Bowe, captain of the Corinthian, a vessel suspected to be engaged in smuggling and piracy. When the two vessels find themselves docked at the same space station, Tom tries to keep his mother from getting the ship into trouble with station authorities. After Marie eludes him, Tom starts looking in likely places, including the Corinthian's mysterious warehouse, where he is found by his half-brother Christian Bowe, who shanghais him aboard their father's vessel. Ensuing events bring the divided clan into conflict and Sprite and Corinthian into a deadly confrontation. Cherryh's satisfying novel delves deeply into the relations between families and crew members tied closely together in long and intimate voyages among the stars. (Sept.)