Sword of Orion, the first installment in a projected science fiction saga by the husband-and-wife writing team of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, revolves around Jerel Telmon, a teenage girl who unknowingly is an integral part of a plot to restore a fallen fascist empire to power.
Jerel is the daughter of two legendary leaders in the revolution that overthrew the Oligarchy, a tyrannical regime that encompassed dozens of planets. But in the war's last apocalyptic battle, Jerel's parents -- both great scientists -- discharged a highly experimental device that not only wiped out the Oligarchy's massive armada but also the brain trust of the rebellion as well. For the last 16 years, Jerel has been living a relatively peaceful life with her uncle Orned, but all that changes when strangers try to abduct her. On the run with her uncle and her best friend, Kay, Jerel begins to put the pieces together: There are those out there who want to somehow resurrect the Oligarchy -- and Jerel possesses something they need to do it!
Featuring a courageous, empathetic, and ingenious young protagonist à la Orson Scott Card's Shadow Quartet (Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, and Shadow of the Giant) and Jeanne DuPrau's Ember novels, Lee and Miller's Beneath Strange Skies sequence -- which is free of any overt sexuality and over-the-top violence -- should appeal to science fiction fans of all ages. Paul Goat Allen