Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: DAW (November 4, 2003)
Category(ies): Science Fiction & Fantasy
Following along 11 months after the previous volume, this has the Phoenix finally nearly at the Reunion station. But more secrets are coming out ... Jase (now junior Captain on this ship) and Bren have realised that there should be logged video of the previous visit to Reunion, and eventually, Jase tracks it down (no thanks to the unhelpful even if not obstructive senior Captain Sabin). And when they see this video, they realise that the station wasn't as badly damaged as supposed.
So now they come out into the system. And there's an alien ship that starts flashing lights at them. Probably the very same alien ship that put the large holes in the station. Bren and Jase's instincts are to try to communicate. Sabin's is not. And the orders that start coming from the stranded Pilots' Guild Master on Reunion are very much against talking to the alien at all ... it's probably a robot, how else would it have been hanging there for the last six years?
So the Phoenix has a multitude of objectives: evacuate the station, communicate with the strange ship, get fuel to be able to make the journey home, destroy the station's copy of the Archive (a grand record of all mankind's knowledge - they don't want that falling into alien hands), and not get blown up or killed. All with Ilisidi (the grandmother of the Atevi ruler) and Cajeira (the ruler's seven year old son) in tow.
This is hectic almost from the start, and the end of this one looks as though it could really do with another twenty pages, it finishes so breathlessly. A successful climax of this second trilogy, and I can't wait to read Destroyer, the first in the third trilogy.