Timothy Zahn wrote some of my favorite Star Wars novels including Heir to the Empire and The Last Command, so I was excited to get this new novel, actually the first in a new trilogy, A Chronicle of the Sibyl’s War.
The publishers summary of the novel sounded intriguing:
Nicole Lee’s life is going nowhere. No family, no money, and stuck in a relationship with a thug named Bungie. But, after one of Bungie’s “deals” goes south, he and Nicole are whisked away by a mysterious moth-like humanoid to a strange ship called the Fyrantha.
Once aboard, life on the ship seems too good to be true. All she has to do is work on one of the ship’s many maintenance crews. However, she learned long ago that nothing comes without a catch. When she’s told to keep quiet and stop asking questions, she knows she is on to something.
Nicole soon discovers that many different factions are vying for control of the Fyrantha, and she and her friends are merely pawns in a game beyond their control. But, she is tired of being used, and now Nicole is going to fight.
And the promise didn’t disappoint. Zahn doesn’t bog us down in exposition like a lot of first books in a series do – he gets right into the action with the details unfolding throughout the book, and I assume, the rest of the series.
The hero Nicole, a 19 year old alcoholic, is well-written (a few moments of sexism not withstanding) who’s life is turned upside down when she is abducted by aliens from the mean streets of Philadelphia. She finds herself on board a space ship she had been psychically communicating with for years thinking she was hearing things. Though she tries to stay out of trouble as a simple maintenance worker on the ship, she cannot ignore evidence that leads her to stepping up to rally a bunch of misfits into taking on the system.
Pawn is an absolute delight to read – a perfect summer space opera that will make you look forward to the other 2 novels in the series.