Ben Bova has written a thrilling conclusion to his Asteroid Wars Series.
Dorik Harbin, a mercenary hired by Martin Humphries to kill Lars Fuchs, has just destroyed the Chrysallis habitat orbiting Ceres. Over 1100 rock rats were killed in Harbin's merciless attack. After the attack, Harbin noticed that another ship, the Syracuse, had witnessed everything. Syracuse is inhabited by Victor Zacharias, his wife Pauline, and two children, Theo and Angela. Victor makes his living hauling ore from the belt back to Ceres. Still in a killing rage, Harbin accuses Victor and his family of hiding Lars Fuchs. Despite their pleas to the contrary, Harbin is convinced and attacks Syracuse. Realizing what is happening, Victor escapes from the ship in the escape pod, trying to draw Harbin away from Syracuse, but leaving his family to fend for themselves. Fortunately, they survive, but at what cost? The ship is badly damaged and Victor has left. Now, Theo, Angela, and Pauline must fend for themselves.
After drifting through space for several months, Victor is rescued by a very seductive woman named Cheena Madagascar. Victor is taken back to Ceres aboard Cheena's ship, where he gets a job working on building the new habitat, but he longs to find his family. Soon, he comes up with a plan.
In the intervening time, Harbin and sculptress Elverda Apacheta have jointly discovered an artifact with mythical powers to change and transform people. Harbin, who tried unsuccessfully to kill himself, has now become a half-human, half-machine cyborg. When he sees the artifact, he is transformed from the murderer he once was into a sympathetic priest. He calls himself Dorn, and has vowed to find every body floating in the solar system left for dead after battles and give them proper burials. Elverda has decided to accompany him.
However, Martin Humphries wants to make sure no one finds out about how his encounter with the artifact affected him, so he's sent out Kao Yuan, another mercinary, to find and eliminate Dorn and Elverda. Also aboard Kao's ship is Tamara Vishinsky and in the end, it is her that seems to wield the real power.
Back aboard Syracuse, after many long months alone, it appears Theo has devised a plan to get him and his family back to Ceres before their supplies run out. But, they are visited by Valker and his crew. They are scavengers who overtake supposedly deserted ships and sell them for profit at Ceres. Unfortunately for Pauline and Angie, it appears that Valker and his men have more on their mind than salvage. Will Victor somehow manage to find his family before its too late? What will become of Dorn and Elverda?
I've read each book in the Asteroid Wars series, and I rate this one as the best. The last 75-100 pages fly by as the action is fast-paced and exciting. Bova has done his best work with this book.
I give this book my highest recommendation. The Asteroid Wars series is loaded with action and characters that the reader grows to like (or hate). Read this exciting book and series and experience science fiction at its very best.