Quite a few years have passed since Willard Ruskin and his companions merged with the dying star Betelgeuse and helped open the gates to the galaxy for humanity and its neighbors. As humans and others use the starstream to reach new worlds to colonize, it's a boon but also a danger: In the starstream are the Throgs, seemingly incomprehensible beings who have destroyed ships and even whole worlds, when they are able to follow a fleeing ship out of the starstream.
Most ships get through safely, though, and Charity is carrying colonists bound for a new colony world. Among those on board Charity are Claudi Melnick, age eight, Sheky Hando, age six, and Jeaves, AI age two hundred or so--the same Jeaves who was a very mixed blessing for Willard Ruskin. Jeaves still has his own agenda, and it involves the Throgs.
It also, as he observes Claudi and Sheky, comes to involve the children, who are seeing and experiencing things that most of the adults, and most of their fellow children, are not. Things like the still-distant Throgs.
Things like the multiple-consciousness being that was once Ruskin, Alimaxim, the assassin Gantz, and Bright (Betelgeuse's own name for herself.)
Claudi and Sheky are bright, sensible, but real children, with real personalities and limitations. Their youth may be part of why they are open to what's happening around them; they also struggle to make sensible and responsible decisions beyond their experience--especially as they come to realize they may be the only ones who can avert disaster on this voyage down the starstream.
Carver has done a great job in portraying real kids, real adults, real relationships among them, as well as a fast-paced and enjoyable adventure.
I borrowed this book from a friend.