This novel contains few surprises for those who have followed and enjoyed Zahn's work from before his Star Wars trilogy burst on the scene. In a star-faring future, humanity is facing tensions within its own ranks and also with various nonhuman races when an aggressive, militaristic new foe erupts from out of nowhere. The son of a high-ranking statesman is the sole survivor of a space battle, and his father sets out to rescue him from alien captivity. The story proceeds briskly thereafter, thanks to Zahn's usual knack for swift pacing, plausible technology and characters, and a lived-in setting. Highly recommended to fans of action sf, this is also a good introduction for newcomers to Zahn's approach to the genre. Roland Green
From the Publisher
Timothy Zahn, Hugo Award-winning author of The New York Times
best-selling Star Wars
trilogy, blazes a spectacular new path across the sky in an epic original novel of star-spanning action adventure, mystery and intrigue. A long era of peace and prosperity in the interstellar Commonwealth has suddenly come to an end. Four alien starships of unknown origin have attacked, without provocation, an eight-ship Peacemaker task force, utterly destroying it in six savage minutes. The authorities claim there were no survivors. But Lord Stewart Cavanaugh, a former member of Parliament, has learned through back channels that one man may have survived to be captured by the aliens: his son, Commander Pheylan Cavanaugh. A large-scale invasion appears imminent, and the strictest security measures are in effect . . . measures that Lord Cavanaugh has no choice but to defy. He recruits Adam Quinn, who once flew with the elite Copperheads--fighter pilots whose minds are literally one with their machines--to rescue his son. Quinn assembles a crack force of Copperheads to steal out of the Commonwealth security zone and snatch Pheylan Cavanaugh from the conquerors. Depending on the outcome, Quinn and his men will retum home as heroes or as the galaxy's most despised traitors--if they come home at all.