For a quarter of a million years, an alien race has been hiding a vast and terrible secret.
In the twenty-fifth century only the alien race known as the Shoal possesses the the secret of FTL, faster-than-light travel, giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the entire galaxy. mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along the conventional Shoaler trade routes.
Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien breed is responsible. Piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict starship. From it's wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But perhaps the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.
Though I have rapidly come to respect and enjoy this author, I must admit that this title falls into a very select category of "books that jump around in time so much I have trouble getting into the swing of things." (OK, so it's a long category... but a very distinguished one.) Unfortunately, it's also NOT one of my favourite ones.
The story itself has plentry going for it... lots of aliens, both organic and...something else... it has a variety of spaceships, it has good guys who turn bad, bad guys who turn worse, misunderstood heroes and even a fallen angel woven into the mix.
I really liked the concept of Ghost Implants... if they ever get close to developing a functional version, sign me up! The ability to merge with any compatible machine would be just brilliant... FINALLY I might be able to figure out what's going hoopla with my install of WindowsXP!
Overall, this author is certainly one worth watching... and if he can refrain from doing the whole 'Pulp Fiction' time-tripping all over the place in future, his books will remain highly readable and enthralling... with a style that resonates with that of Neal Asher and Iain M. Banks, I just know he's going to become one of my favourites... so roll on his next literary work...
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