In a war-torn galaxy, M. Jela Granthor's Guard, a genetically modified soldier,
is sent on a mission pitting him against an enemy whose goal is the destruction
of all life. His only allies are Cantra yos'Phelium, a pilot and smuggler, and Dulsey, a runaway clone.
Hopping from world to world, leaving destroyed star systems and narrow escapes in their wake, Cantra and Jela soon come to depend on each other for their survival.
Jela and Cantra make a somewhat opaque pair. Their interactions are strangely flat, and there is little explanation of their motivations. But despite these flaws, this first of two prequels set in the Liaden Universe is an engaging, easy read. (Feb., 336 pp., $25.95)