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Posted August 23, 2013
This fourth installment of the Starbridge saga features a mystery surrounding an archaeological dig on the StarBridge academy's home asteroid. We see more of the academy's inner workings and the interactions of the different species among its faculty and students. The primary student character is Serge LaRoche, a musician who no longer plays because an accident severed his hands, leaving him with artificial ones. He still hasn't come to terms with this loss and focuses on archaeology and his work at the academy. He and a fellow student, Hing Oun, dance around rekindling a relationship his remoteness ruined. Into the mix comes an abused child with astounding telepathic abilities, exactly the sort the Cooperative League of Systems is desperate to cultivate.
A. C. Crispin and Deborah A. Marshall mix all these elements deftly, seasoning with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, and computer tampering. I was rooting for Serge and Hing and even for Heather, the telepathic prodigy, who doesn't start out as the most sympathetic character. The authors make excellent use of their outer space setting, too. This is a great continuation of the series.