Modesitt's fascinating and highly readable science fiction novel has more than a dash of detective-story whimsy. Blane Donne is a wonderful narrator; the only real flaw in the book is that it's difficult to differentiate first-person narrators. Outfitted with gadgets galore and assisted by his A.I. Max, Donne sets
out on adventures that will be a hit with
both science fiction and mystery fans.

Private investigator Blane Donne lives on the planet Devanta and has been hired to investigate the connection between an entertainment conglomerate, a research scientist and a mysterious place called Elysium. By accepting this commission as well as a series of others that appear to be unrelated, he becomes the pivotal figure in what could end up being an interstellar war -- not to mention the end of the world as he knows it. (Tor, Feb., 336 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs