ANGELMASS by Timothy Zahn


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Though the jacket showing a monstrous drill cracking apart huge space-rocks blasts at us like an old Amazing Stories cover, this black-hole saga, by the hugely bestselling author of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire (1991), turns on systems of interplanetary ethics, with every page scrubbed for younger readers who may have a legal bent taming their hormonal drives. Kosta, an inept young stumbler, is trained by the Pax Comitus, which rules the interplanetary colonies except for the Empyrean. He’s then sent out from the magnificent warship Komitadji to infiltrate the Empyrean and find out the secrets of the angels that it mines from the black hole called Angelmass. These tiny angel particles have the effect on their wearers, especially officials and politicians, of rendering them grimly earnest, ethical, honest beings who cannot speak false thoughts. Also arriving by space liner at Seraph system is Chandris Lalasha, 16, a con artist set on scoring an angel to sell back in the Pax Empire. What will happen when these two meet angel particles and face possible exposure? Chandris lands a huntership job with Ornina Daviee and her brother Hanan, a cripple in exobraces, while Kosta plunges into research about angels with their quanta of good that alters brain chemistry and neural structure. But then comes the monstrous tidal flux of Angelmass, with the mysteriously appearing angels . . . shot from where, by what?

Zahn paints every futuristic detail with gleamy realism and mock scientific dialogue that streams with starship hardware and military trooper talk. Once underway, immensely appealing.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-87828-1
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001


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