AFTERBURN

Author(s): 
Viehl returns to K-2, the world of the water-dwelling 'Zangians, for the second entry in her Bio Rescue series. As the Allied League of Worlds gathers on K-2 for a peace summit, one of the ambassador's transports is attacked en route.

Bio Rescue Sublieutenant Burn mu Znora manages to intercept the shuttle and foil the attempted kidnapping of the ambassador's daughter, Liana. Meanwhile, one of K-2's migrant races is demanding its own world, and other planets are looking for a share of K-2's ample water supply. Amid interplanetary politics, Burn, who's been assigned to protect Liana, discovers that his charge protects a potentially deadly secret—and at least one delegate seeks to undermine the fragile peace the 'Zangians are work-ing to preserve.

Strong world-building carries a far-flung, potentially complicated plot in this adventurous space opera. Viehl's various species are fully fleshed out, with individual habits and customs that bring inventively non-humanoid characters to vivid life.

Characters from Viehl's previous novel, Bio Rescue, reappear, but the plot stands well on its own and pulls in several secondary characters whom one hopes will get their own stories as well. Character-rather than science-driven, this is a science fiction novel with heart—one that will appeal to fans of romantic suspense as well as space fiction. (Aug., 320 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum