cover image Pawn: A Chronicle of the Sibyl’s War

Pawn: A Chronicle of the Sibyl’s War

Timothy Zahn. Tor, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2966-0

Space opera fans are sure to enjoy this fast-paced, pulpy introduction to veteran Zahn’s new trilogy. Nicole Hammond, a 19-year-old alcoholic, is living the hard life in Philadelphia. She’s suffering from an atrocious hangover and attempting a kidnapping when her life goes from bad to weird: aliens abduct her and her criminal colleague, and Nicole discovers that the voices she’s been hearing for years are a side effect of her ability to psychically communicate with a massive spaceship. The alien ship is staffed by humans who are press-ganged into working as repair crews. Though the security of life aboard the ship has its appeal, Nicole discovers evidence that the entire situation is much worse than it looks, and she reluctantly steps beyond her life as a self-serving nobody. The book stumbles briefly on moments of inexplicable sexism but is otherwise a solid, fun, zippy read that delivers all the expected twists. This promises to be a rollicking series. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (May)