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It Was Supposed to be a Routine Test of a New Ship?but They Landed in a Alien Arena Where the Stakes Were Life or Death. A New Paperback Original by the Co-Author of Boundary.
It was supposed to be a simple test flight, one that pilot Ariane Austin was on only as a last-ditch backup; intelligent, superhumanly fast automation would handle the test activation and flight of humanity's first faster-than-light vessel. But when the Sandrisson Drive activated, every automated system ...
It Was Supposed to be a Routine Test of a New Ship—but They Landed in a Alien Arena Where the Stakes Were Life or Death. A New Paperback Original by the Co-Author of Boundary.
It was supposed to be a simple test flight, one that pilot Ariane Austin was on only as a last-ditch backup; intelligent, superhumanly fast automation would handle the test activation and flight of humanity's first faster-than-light vessel. But when the Sandrisson Drive activated, every automated system crashed, the nuclear reactor itself shut down, and only the reflexes and training of a racing pilot saved the test vessel Holy Grail from crashing into the impossible wall that had appeared before them, a wall which is just part of a monstrous enclosure surrounding a space twenty thousand kilometers across. With all artificial intelligences inert and their reactor dead, they had to find some other source of power to reactivate the Sandrisson Drive and—hopefully—take them home.
And that was only the beginning. As Ariane, Dr. Simon Sandrisson, darkly enigmatic power engineer Marc C. DuQuesne, and the rest of the Holy Grail's crew explore the immense artifact, they discover that they are not alone; they have entered a place the alien inhabitants call “The Arena,” and there is no way out without joining one of the alien factions . . . or winning recognition as a faction in their own right, playing by the Arena's rules – and by the Arena's rules, one failed challenge could mean death or worse – perhaps for the entire human race.
Surrounded by alien factions, each with its own secret plans and motivations, some wielding powers so strange as to be magical, Ariane sets out to beat the Arena at its own game. With DuQuesne's strategies, Sandrisson's genius, and her own unyielding determination, she's going to bring the Holy Grail home – even if she has to beat every faction in the Arena to do it!
Posted May 8, 2010
A group of eight explorers from the not too distant future set out to test-fly The Holy Grail, the very first faster-than-light experimental ship. Instead of finding themselves in interstellar space, they find themselves at a massive artificial construct that houses thousands of different intelligent species, and has existed for long enough to house creatures that have evolved to live within it.
The Grand Central Arena is vast in ways that defy comprehension: it is apparently large enough to provide for a large population of every intelligent species in the universe, and has a history dating back though occupation by many species that have since become extinct. It has rules of conduct that it rigidly enforces, and a culture that is beautifully diverse yet may be suddenly deadly.
For Ariane Austin, the beautiful rocket racing pilot and default skipper of the expedition; for Dr. Carl Edlund, Ariane's crew chief and design expert; Dr. Marc DuQuesne, survivor of a massive genetic and psychological experiment; for Dr. Simon Sandrisson, inventor of the FTL drive and the rest of this elite crew the challenge becomes far greater than a simple test flight. The stakes in this arena run from full partnership in an interstellar trading community far beyond their greatest dreams, to slavery or destruction of the entire human race.
Spoor does an outstanding job of bringing together a disparate party of human adventurers and an eclectic set of aliens with a wide variety of motivations. He also dragged this reader right into the midst of the battle to create a place for humanity amongst the stars.
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Posted October 27, 2013