When preserving the human species through deep-space colonization, fertility is both currency and curse.
Everyone expects wedding bells for Waverly and Kieran, the eldest of the first generation conceived in space during the Empyrean's multi-decade mission to colonize New Earth. Waverly's hesitations about golden-boy Kieran—and curiosities about Kieran's broody rival Seth—are tossed to the wayside when an ambush leaves all of them navigating a deadly nebula of lies, schemes and misinformation. While Waverly launches a careful resistance as a captive of Pastor Anne Mather's childless ship the New Horizon, Kieran and Seth butt heads in an escalating contest for leadership over the distressed Empyrean. Waverly's initiative and intellect ensure that even as a prisoner she is far from a damsel in distress. Ryan sets Kieran and Seth apart from standard love-triangle anchors through emphasis on their well-matched flaws. The split narrative gives enough breathing room for a balance of introspection and high-stakes action. Along the way, hints of the older generation's secrets are tossed out but not resolved, leaving the protagonists unsure of whom to trust and readers unsure of whose side to take.
Desire to find out which of the proactive characters' bold moves end in disaster will leave readers clamoring for the next installment of this space saga. (Science fiction. 14 & up)