source for free and $1 books


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of NIGHT TRAIN TO RIGEL by Timothy Zahn

    TOR, October 2005

    Ex-spy Frank Compton discovers a dying man on the street. A quick search of the man's pocket turns up a space-train ticket with Compton's name on it, a few bucks, and nothing by way of identification. Compton had been planning a move anyway, but with the police breathing down his neck for the unexplained death, heading off-planet seems like an even better idea. Once on the train, Compton finds himself drafted back into the spy-game. Assigned Bayta (an apparent human who can somehow communicate with the 'spiders' who run the space-train system), as an aide and minder, Compton is told a story about a vision, space-war, and the coming destruction of the system that keeps the civilized species at peace.

    With nothing to go on but a strange vision, Compton presses ahead--aware that by publically drafting him, the spiders have set him up as a fall-guy. Help and opposition are quick in coming and Compton and Bayta are hustled off to a resort planet where Compton can work his cover job, but also try to discover the real mystery--because someone is definitely trying to do something, even if the spiders' original story doesn't quite hold together.

    Author Timothy Zahn (see more reviews of novels by Zahn) combines space opera, spy-thriller, and a bit of Hitchcockian train drama in an intriguing story of space. The eventual enemy might have come out of a Flash Gordon episode, and some of Compton's adventures are way over the top, but Zahn's engaging writing kept me going. On slight problem--perhaps to preserve Compton's secret, we didn't really get a feel for what made the ex-spy tick, which reduced my interest in his eventual success or failure.

    NIGHT TRAIN TO RIGEL falls a bit short of its potential, but it's still an enjoyable adventure.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 12/04/05

    Ready to buy it? Click the button:

    Want to learn more?
    Click this link and see more reviews, similar books, and other Amazon information on NIGHT TRAIN TO RIGEL from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for NIGHT TRAIN TO RIGEL from Barnes and

    Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.