From the author of, most recently, Cyteen (1988): a space-action yarn chockfull of convincingly gritty detail, though less than adequate when it comes to backdrop and explanations. Following a war involving Earth and its space colonies--it's never clear who's done what to whom, or why--machinist and spacer Bet Yeager slowly starves on rotting space-station Thule for want of a job (she has no papers; she's also an ex-marine--and once fought on the wrong side). Finally, she manages to join a ship, Loki, even though the circumstances are suspicious--and the atmosphere aboard ship is murderous: half the crew support the callous, vicious officer Fitch, the rest are followers of the more moderate and humane Bernstein. Thanks to her marine training, Bet survives to help the Bernstein faction--but which side does Loki's aloof captain favor, and what are his intentions? Fitch, anticipating a battle, hauls out some old suits of space armor and sets Bet to refurbishing them. Bet's problem, then, is that she may soon be expected to fight against her former wartime comrades-turned-pirates. Plenty of tough, muscular, sometimes brutal action, complete with edge-of-your-seat plotting: likely to please space-battle-happy fans unconcerned with underlying reasons and motivations.