Prime Directive

Davis Bunn. Severn, $28.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5026-3

An obscure intergalactic outpost becomes a concern to the Human Empire in this fast-paced, retro-feeling sci-fi mystery from Bunn (The Fragment). After 16 scientists die on the planet Loria within 90 days of each other, aspiring diplomat Lt. Amanda Bostick is tasked by her no-nonsense sector commandant to investigate and prevent any more human fatalities—all in just 10 days. Amanda is anxious to prove herself, but finds Loria’s human scientists evasive and their telepathic alien subjects of study baffling. The plot thickens as the pirates who raid the neighboring systems work to claim Loria for their new base. Now Amanda must find a way to placate a pirate king, rescue a princess, unite the Empire with its distrusting allies, and discover how primitive aliens could be capable of shredding a star cruiser. Bunn offers readers a sure guide through his far-future setting in his stalwart main character, and though old-school sci-fi fans will likely figure out the alien answer to all the intrigue a bit too soon, it’s still a pleasure to watch Amanda solve the mystery herself. This is good fun. [em]Agent: Chip MacGregor, MacGregor and Luedeke Literary. (July) [/em]
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