Damon Lathe and his blackcollar combat team were sent to capture five hidden Nova-class warships from under the Ryqril conquerors’ snouts. Against all odds they had succeeded, sharing their prize with the Terran Democratic Empire’s erstwhile Chryselli allies, who were themselves the current focus of Ryqril aggression. Lathe had followed that by successfully entering Earth’s last mountain war-era fortress and found a small resistance movement’s final project: a drug called Whiplash, which could break the supposedly unbreakable Ryqril loyalty-conditioning. Now they face their most serious challenge. On one of the conquered human colony worlds is a Ryqril tactical center through which flows an entire sector’s worth of military data. If the blackcollars can find a way inside, it could tip the balance in the current Ryqril-Chryselli war. It could even start humanity on the path back to ultimate freedom. But the Ryqril aren’t sitting idly by. Under threat of reprisals against his world, Prefect Jamus Galway of Plinry is already on the case. His plan: to turn the blackcollars and their combat skill into unknowing tools of the Ryqril. His hidden ace: a clone duplicate of Lathe’s ally Allan Caine, ready to be slipped into Lathe’s inner circle. It will be the blackcollars’ most important mission. It may also be their last.
Genres: science fiction
Timothy Zahn has been writing science fiction since 1975 and sold his first story to Analog in 1978. Since then Zahn has published nearly seventy short stories and novelettes, numerous novels, and three short fiction collections. Along the way he has won a Hugo Award (for the novella CascadePoint, in 1984) and has been nominated twice more. He is best known for his original five Star Wars novels (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The LastCommand, Specter of the Past, and Vision of the Future), as well as Star Wars:Survivor’s Quest, Outbound Flight, Allegiance, and Choices of One. His most recent publications have been the science-fiction Cobra series and the six-part young adult series Dragonback. He has a B.S. in physics from Michigan State University, and an M.S. in physics from the University of Illinois.