A cruel world government dominates life on Earth. The powers that be don’t respond meekly to resistance, and force citizens to have chips implanted underneath their skin. Unwilling to submit to the central government’s authority, the Native Alliance Command, whose members follow a senior chief known as the Baacheeitche, find no alternative but to flee the planet. Fortunately for them, there’s hope for escape, in the form of Lightships: “A Lightship is a living creature, intelligent and thoughtful, with a passion and deep love for those living within her and those around her, more like a mother than as a ship transporting her crew.” However, the enemy is unwilling to let the Native Alliance Command escape quite so easily. The stage is soon set for an intergalactic conflict that becomes more urgent after the Baacheeitche’s beautiful, fierce daughter is captured. How can the group defend themselves against a powerful enemy bent on their annihilation? De Vaney provides regular doses of action, featuring battling ships and laser grenades, and these scenes keep up the quick pace. However, the moments in between are sometimes muddled by grandiose statements, such as, “Bonded through the strength of their trials together, they covered for each other as only their love could have trained them to—in harmony.” The story also becomes somewhat convoluted, due to a large cast of characters, including soldiers of various ranks and a well-trained German shepherd. Overall, however, the novel proves memorable, thanks to the concept of the living Lightship. Its implications take the story to unexpected places; for example, when a Lightship is attacked, it responds not just with the calculated weaponry of an action-fueled sci-fi adventure, but with emotions and concern as well (“Embattled, cornered, unable to escape, [Lightship Merak] still fought on, knowing that if she failed she would lose all who depended upon her”).
Sci-fi fans who enjoy interstellar action with an emotional twist are sure to find this book worthwhile.