Friday, July 27, 2012

Hex (Coyote #6, by Allen Steele (author), Tracy Sallows (narrator)


Ace, ISBN 9781937007515, April 2012

I listened to the unabridged audio edition; however, Amazon will not allow me to link to that, so I've linked to the paperback edition.

Andromeda Carson, captain of the Coyote merchant ship Montoya, is getting bored with standard commercial runs where, due to the fact that humans aren't yet fully accepted or trusted in the Talis, she and the crew rarely even get to disembark, much less explore. She's beginning to reluctantly contemplate retirement when her boss, Ted Harker, approaches her with an unexpected proposal. The most mysterious race in the Talis, the danui, have indirectly approached Coyote with an offer of a human-habitable planet in their home solar system.

It's a stunning offer, but they need an experienced and reliable ship and crew to make the first journey there and determine whether this too-good-to-be-true offer is real. The danui system, after all, appears to have a gas giant close in to its primary--a "hot Jupe"--and such systems aren't noted for having a plethora of smaller, rocky, potentially habitable worlds. There also appears to be a rather strange dust nebula around the star.

Of course Carson agrees to take her ship on this potentially risky reconnaissance. Then her life is further enlivened by the news that her estranged son is a member of the Explorers' Corp team that will be joining her.

Steele is a master storyteller, and gives us a wonderful tour of the unexpected reality of the danui home system. Saying anything else would be a spoiler. If you like solidly constructed sf grounded in good science, with good characters and plot, you'll enjoy this.

Recommended.

A sample from the audiobook: