Pawn by Timothy Zahn
Nicole Lee’s life is going nowhere. No family, no money, and stuck in a relationship with a thug named Bungie. But, after one of Bungie’s “deals” goes south, he and Nicole are whisked away by a mysterious moth-like humanoid to a strange ship called the Fyrantha.
Once aboard, life on the ship seems too good to be true. All she has to do is work on one of the ship’s many maintenance crews. However, she learned long ago that nothing comes without a catch. When she’s told to keep quiet and stop asking questions, she knows she is on to something.
Nicole soon discovers that many different factions are vying for control of the Fyrantha, and she and her friends are merely pawns in a game beyond their control. But, she is tired of being used, and now Nicole is going to fight.
Nicole is a down and out, and pretty much given up when she’s suddenly abducted by aliens. She and other humans are used to work as laborers aboard the spaceship. And as it turns out, Nicole has a special gift that makes her especially valuable to her abductors. She is able to communicate with the ship – as it tells her specifically what the work crews need to fix. But Nicole stumbles upon another section of the ship that will push her to do more.
Pawn is the first in a new, original scifi series. The story wasn’t quite what I expected. The majority of the story takes place entirely on the ship, as Nicole uncovers a mystery. It’s well-paced, and full of drama and suspense. Fyrantha is an intriguing ship, and I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface in this first installment. Zahn has created another engaging universe of diverse aliens and complex characters. I look forward to the next in this promising series.