A well-handled, often exciting science-fiction/thriller with disconcertingly odd but cleverly realized ideas. Long after a dreadful nuclear war, humans have spread throughout the solar system and live in a variety of planetary and space habitats. To prevent another war, the E-Tech alliance, headed by wise old Rome Franco, controls the release and distribution of advanced technology from the old days; lately, however, E-Tech has been losing ground to more progressive and impetuous powerbrokers. But now someone has released from suspended animation a Paratwa, a deadly assassin with one mind that inhabits and controls two bodies; armed with vicious energy weapons, one Paratwa can defeat armies of ordinary warriors. At a loss to deal with the threat, Rome decides to revivify a pair of assassin-catchers, the warrior Gillian and his dwarf sidekick, computer-whiz Nick. Eventually, after many bloody encounters, Rome and his allies realize that the Paratwa, Reemul, is being directed by one of the old Paratwa rulers (the latter were supposedly all destroyed years ago). Even worse, the virtually immortal boss Paratwa has been secretly controlling human society for centuries (with horrifying ends in view); Rome's problem is to identify the enemy--both of him. Weird but believable stuff, convincingly detailed, often surprising and with plenty of narrative drive: all in all, then, an auspicious debut.