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The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn
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The Icarus Hunt

by Timothy Zahn

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A brother of mine turned me on to SF writer Timothy Zahn (the author of a number of Star Wars novels as well as the Conquerors' Trilogy and Dragonback series). My introduction to Zahn came via The Icarus Hunt - a fun and fast-paced space opera jaunt through the galaxy. I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging characters, witty dialog and repartee, as well as the adventure laden plot (that reads like an Agatha Christie in space along with the requisite locked room mystery and Poirot-like denouement). Good, clean fun (with a few minor swear words and PG situations) - a solid book in which to introduce the genre to your junior higher! Don't let the 450 pages deter you either, quest/adventure novels have come a long way since Don Quixote.

Zahn is a talented writer with an imagination that spices up the standard space opera trope with just the right amount (imo) of hard SF detail. The Icarus is a spaceship that is carrying an unknown cargo that could break the economic stranglehold of the Patth, an alien civilization that controls a majority of the commercial space lanes. Enter Captain Jordan McKell who is hired to pilot the Icarus to Earth - and along the way unravels a number of mysteries that spring up regarding this special cargo. The book is a page-turner as McKell jumps through space from one crisis to the next.

I enjoy Zahn's first person narrative voice (via a Han Solo-esque protagonist); he nicely integrates dialog and action, weaving in the world-building and background information through POV reflection and conversation. If there is a quibble, it would be that his characters "grimace" too often. It's a descriptive word, but is almost as frequently used as "said" for a dialog marker. (I've noticed in the two other books I've read by Zahn that grimacing must be one of his writerly peccadillos.) Still, I can live with that since it doesn't take away from the story, and eventually one just ignores those markers.

That said, if you're looking for an escape while hiking in the mountains or at the beach this summer, grab The Icarus Hunt and strap yourself in for a wild ride. (8 out of 10) ( )
  ResAliens | Feb 6, 2014 |
One of the first books I ever read where the ending took me completely by surprise! Loved it! ( )
  empress8411 | Jan 20, 2014 |
Great book. Major plot twist in the last 10 pages or so, really unexpected and woah. Will have to read it a second time with what I know now. ( )
  J4N3 | Sep 23, 2013 |
As you go through the story, you tend to forget who Jordan and Ixil really are, but Zahn ties that up neatly at the end.
The story revolves around a ragtag crew signed on to deliver an alien ship to Earth. Who and what the characters are, and what the ship really is, keeps the reader in a state of confusion, but in a good way. Add to that mix aliens on the hunt for this mysterious ship who are just as much in the dark as the crew.
I found this space tale to be entertaining and utterly enjoyable. ( )
1 vote DavidLErickson | Aug 24, 2012 |
The trouble starts when a stranger in a tavern hires Jordan McKell to fly a spaceship to Earth. Jordan arrives at the spaceport to find a ragtag crew hired off the streets and a pile of money and a note from their employer asking them to fly off without him and deliver the ship's sealed cargo safely to Earth. Their employer is wanted by the authorities on a murder charge and is currently on the run.
Soon after takeoff, it's clear that there's a saboteur and murderer aboard as their equipment constantly malfunctions, a crew member dies and another nearly gets killed. Meanwhile, authorities across the galaxy are on their trail, eager to intercept their mysterious cargo.
Jordan, who has a secret agenda of his own for taking this job, has to find the murderer and figure out the secret of their cargo while keeping the ship out of enemy hands and keeping his own secrets hidden. ( )
  soraki | Oct 12, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553573918, Mass Market Paperback)

Jordan McKell thinks he's pretty unlucky, but most of us would gladly trade places with him. He's a freelance star-freighter captain who plies the hyperspace folds between worlds, trading exotic goods and meeting bizarre aliens. His latest job, to pilot the Icarus and its sealed cargo to earth, seems simple enough, but it rapidly turns into a crisis of interstellar proportions. The man who hired him goes missing, governments and the underworld alike put a price on the Icarus and on McKell's head, and one of his crew is murdered. He'll need to call upon his wits, his courage, and even a few tricks if he wants to survive.

Space opera veteran Timothy Zahn, a Hugo award winner and author of the bestselling Star Wars Thrawn trilogy, brings us a tale that's as convoluted and complex as a hyperdrive motor. Although there's plenty of action both in space and on the ground, The Icarus Hunt is primarily a murder mystery. Chapter by chapter, even page by page, the list of suspects and their motivations grows and evolves, constantly shifting as McKell relentlessly cuts through webs of deception and subterfuge. But the murder is only the opening move in a game that could alter the power structure of hundreds of solar systems. Zahn always provides an entertaining ride through the galaxy, and readers will find him very much in his element with this book. --J.B. Peck

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:52 -0400)

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The space blockade runner, Jordan McKell, is hired by an industrialist to deliver a superfast star drive to Earth. His ship is spotted by aliens who are maintaining the blockade and the chase is on.

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