Copyright 1999 by
I first read this in July 2001.
Earth is a new and very junior members of the Confederacy of Allied
Worlds. The four senior members of the Confederacy are the only ones
who know the secret of faster-than-light travel, and they intend to keep
it that way.
As a token, Earth has been given charge of a rather out-of-the-way space
station named Jocasta, orbiting the inner world of the Abelar system,
Given its location and rather dubious history, business hasn't been
However, Commander Halley is dedicated to making this station successful, and
things are slowly turning round.
But now the station has been blockaded by alien spacecraft, there's no
sign of the Confederacy mounting any kind of rescue and an alien resident
has been brutally murdered. To cap it all, an old earth spacecraft has
been detected close by, light-years from where it should have been and
fifty years late.
It's a bit of a detective mystery, and a few too many things happen that
aren't essential to the plot, so rather longer than ideal, but it's a
remarkably good first novel. Our tired, sick and aging heroine is
convincing, we empathise with the stresses wearing her down.
What's it got? action, aliens and artificial intelligence.
Loaded on the 28th July 2001.