Ace, Sep 2008, $7.99
The Farwan Corporation “Corp” s is dead after the revelation that it deliberately destroyed the ship the Sargasso carrying hundreds of passengers. The Conglomerate rushes in to fill the power vacuum and be in charge of controlling tariffs and jump-traveling voyagers. Sirantha Jax, who played a role in revealing the Corp treachery, is made ambassador to the Ithiss-Tor world where she is to convince the inhabitants known as the “Bugs” to join the Conglomerate. If they fail to do so,, they will be subject to “jumping” bans and a stiff tariff.
Jax navigates through several conspiracies and jumps because she contains the J-gene. . She takes on two passengers one being pregnant and near giving birth, which she does in the spaceship. They travel to Emry Station to drop off the new family, but all are dead there; killed by Marguts. They escape the station only to land in the middle of a clan war on Lanchion. Jax and some of her crew escape again, but are kidnapped; her only hope for freedom lies with her and her crew’s ingenuity.
WANDERLUST is a great space opera starring a crew who looks human, talks human, behaves human; but Jax knows there is a breed on board ( a bio-experimental engineered intelligent being). The other non-human is a “Bug” who acts more human than humans do. The heroine remains brave though a little strapped for cash after losing her job by exposing the Corp’s atrocity (the fate of whistleblowers has not changed). Sci fi fans will enjoy her roller coaster thrill ride as the turns, twists, and upside down spins make for an exhilarating outer space voyage.