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More than 500 years ago, a gentle race of aliens, the Citizens, gave refuge to the unborn descendants of an abandoned starship. Raised to think of themselves as Colonists, the humans born from freeze-dried embryos now assist the Citizens in their interstellar explorations. Then Kirsten Quinn-Kovacs, a math whiz and navigator of the research vessel Explorer, uncovers information that leads to the discovery of a disturbing body of lost knowledge. The relationship between Citizens and Colonists enters a new phase-just in time to make contact with the "wild" humans fleeing Earth's imminent destruction. Coauthors Niven ("Ringworld" series; "Puppeteer" series) and Lerner (Probe; Moonstruck) create a far-future sf mystery/adventure set two centuries before the discovery of the Ringworld by humans. Intriguing human and alien characters and lucid scientific detail make this Sci Fi ESSENTIAL book a good addition to most sf collections.