Jerel Telemon is a typical teenager of the Free Galaxy, with school, boys and a part-time job as her top priorities. But then she's kidnapped by fanatic oligarchists as part of a plot to revive the defeated fascist regime. Jerel's parents were heroes of the alliance that overthrew the oligarchy, which had ruled the Sword of Orion area of the Milky Way with an iron fist.

While her parents gave their lives for a noble cause, Jerel's life with her uncle has been fairly normal. Now, after a narrow escape, Jerel, her uncle, her maybe-boyfriend Kay and an alien warrior are on the run, planet-hopping to stay ahead of the bad guys. Jerel holds within her the key to secure the galaxy's freedom once and for all. She and her companions must figure out how to use this power before the oligarchists catch up with them and find a way to use Jerel for their own dark purposes.

Book one of Beneath Strange Skies, a new series from the creators of the Liaden universe, shows the potential to be as intriguing and original as the authors' previous works. Lee and Miller excel at inventive space-opera plotting, with exciting action sequences and believable characters (human and otherwise). Jerel is a very realistic teenager, and younger science fiction fans should appreciate her point of view. There' some complicated science theory, which could make the average reader's head hurt a bit, and some annoying repetitive phrasing, but with a compelling plot, a likeable young heroine and Star Wars echoes reverberating throughout, this tale should appeal to most science fiction fans. (Nov., 288 pp,, $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum