Without A Front

Without A Front - Fletcher DeLancey This book is a spin-off of the author's very popular Star trek Voyager fanfic 'Past Imperfect' series. Alsea, one of the planets that Capt. Janeway visits on her way back to earth, contain a race of beings who are empaths--people who can feel the emotions of others. The book revolves around their society in general and their leader, Lancer Tal, in particular.

There is a lot more world-building in this book than the other series, but not through boring descriptions or expositions. We learn about Alsean society as the different castes wrangle over the merits of introducing a possible life-altering piece of technology that their leader wangled from Capt. Janeway--the 'Replicator'--that trademark Star Trek gadget that seemingly lets one produce anything out of nothing. So just imagine the panic and chaos that the threat of its introduction has instilled in the Producers (aka farmers), whose products form the cornerstone of Alsean economy.

Politics, intrigue, conspiracy and betrayals abound--in the midst of an unexpected and highly unlikely but very intense romance. The first half of the book is a little light on the action but the tension kicks up several gears in the second half. It is different enough from the Past Imperfect series in tone and content (less lesfic drama, less behind-the-scenes action (wink)), but no less profound and gripping.

5 stars