Although I have not had the pleasure of reading Night Train to Rigel, the first adventure in this series, I had no difficulty enjoying this sequel that continues the detective efforts of former government agent Frank Compton.
A bit of a trouble magnet, Frank finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation as he travels across the known universe on the Quadrail - a magnificent device operated by the mysterious robotic Spiders. What started as a seemingly simple jaunt evolves into a quick-witted romp as Frank and his telepathic partner, the beautiful Bayla, attempt to solve the crime and prevent the universe from being destroyed. The entity at the root of the matter is no simple human criminal but an ancient parasitic alien that communicates telepathically and controls the actions of every host it has infected.
Well-known author Timothy Zahn has several successes under his belt and doesn’t disappoint with this one. His expertise shines throughout this tale on intergalactic espionage. In Zahn’s universe, humans haven’t really climbed up the evolutionary ladder much. Space-faring technology comes from other beings, as do other creature comforts. In addition to the technology, the aliens we meet are interesting only in the role they play in the story - not in the elements of their society. This is not a sociological foray into human-alien relations. The Third Lynx, is a space opera and a very good one at that.
With blindingly quick shifts in the storyline, Zahn keeps readers on their toes. He knows how to tell a tale, holding back the juiciest bits until the very end. From one world to another, readers follow Frank as he attempts to thwart the Mohdri’s group mind and save the universe. Of course, there are explosions, beautiful women, and sleight-of-hand tricks involved, along with big hulking aliens and stupid greedy humans. Even with all of the stereotypical characters, Zahn deftly controls the action and keeps this from becoming a clichéd yarn with a predictable ending.
The Third Lynx easily earns 4 out of 5 stars.