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A Prison Unsought by Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge

Published by Tor Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The saga of Exordium continues in this novel, the third of five. It continues to fulfil the expectations created by the first two, with rousing adventure in the old space-opera tradition that carries the reader headlong across a colorful galaxy. These novels are set in a universe that has been fully thought out by writers who have absorbed the lessons of modern social science but still appreciate the charms and courtesies of an older, slower era.

When this installment begins, the fallen Panarch Gelassar is about to be delivered to his exile on the prison-planet of Gehenna, to which he once sent his own worst enemies. Accompanying him on this one-way journey are a number of the Panarchy's other leading figures. Eusabian has entrusted the task of delivering them to his son and heir, Anaris.

Meanwhile, Brandon is working out his new position in the portion of surviving Panarchic culture that is pulling itself back together aboard Ares, the secret naval base. At the end of the last book, Brandon's flight with the Rifters came to a sudden and unexpected halt when their ship was captured by a Panarchic battlecruiser. Now the continued fight against Eusabian's hated Dol'jharrian forces must necessarily involve shouldering more conventional responsibilities as heir-apparent to this vast and ancient starfaring culture.

But when a captured communication device brings news of the impending transfer of the captive Panarch to Gehenna, Brandon knows he has to act. With his trusted crew of Rifters he is off once more on a wild space adventure, seeking to rescue his father from a planet of no return.

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Review posted December 15, 2000

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