Lewis Deathstalker is living up to a family tradition of outlawry in DEATHSTALKER RETURN (4), the third novel in Simon R. Green's sci-fi epic. This is space opera at its finest, with rebels, traitors, gun and sword battles, and legendary prophecies. Accompanied by a former galactic superstar, a cowardly con man, a psychopathic assassin and 8-foot-tall carnivorous reptiloid Saturday, Lewis hurtles across the galaxy in a stolen cargo ship. These unlikely heroes battle a common enemy in Finn Durandal, treacherous leader of an army determined to bring down the empire's Golden Age of peace. Lewis also has to discover what happened to his ancestor Owen, prophesied to stop an approaching terror capable of destroying humanity; unfortunately, Owen disappeared hundreds of years ago. The action and dialogue at times reach slapstick proportions, but this doesn't detract from the page-turning action and heroic scope of the plot. The motley band of rebels plays off each other with the sharp wit and endearing affection found in the best buddy comedies, and Lewis, with his wry humor, is an engaging galactic Indiana Jones. (Jan., 474 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum