From Publishers Weekly
This grand interstellar adventure exemplifies Hugo-winner Steele's skill with near-future tech and struggle with human interactions. Kicked out of the Western Hemisphere Union Astronautica space fleet, 20-ish Jules Truffaut cleverly stows away on the Robert E. Lee
, bound for the Coyote Federation, where he intends to defect. Circumstances force him to accept a mysterious job as shuttle pilot for billionaire Morgan Goldstein, who's plotting to corner trade with the alien hjadd. Steele (Spindrift
) makes in-flight technicalities almost tangible, and he equips his hissing, grunting, slithering aliens with convincing motivations. He's less adept at portraying the human crew who accompany Truffaut to a vast space city, where the interstellar coalition called the Talus must decide whether to allow humans to join. Subplots such as Jules's attraction to sexy crew member Rain Thompson and Goldstein's predictable big-boss machinations are tepid, even stereotypical, but a rousing climax rescues the crew and the novel from boredom. (Apr.)
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About the Author
Allen Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and received his B.A. in Communications from New England College and a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. Before turning to science fiction, he worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts, as well as Washington, D.C. His previous novels include Orbital Decay; Lunar Descent; Clarke County, Space; Labyrinth of Night; Jericho Iteration; The Tranquility Alternative; Oceanspace, and Chronospace (all available from Ace). He is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award in the novella category. He lives with his wife, Linda, in Whately, Massachusetts.