The Stars Down Under
Tor, Mar 2008, $24.95
Chief Petty Officer Terry Myell and Lieutenant Commander Jodenny Scott tried to hide their marriage as a relationship between them is strictly forbidden by the military code of conduct. However, when they were caught, Terry was grounded as his wife has command authority. He is bored with his spouse gone and he stuck doing nonsensical mostly made up office work.
However his ennui ends not because the brass provided him meaningful work, but abductors do. His kidnappers need his help to locate missing research scientists who vanished while studying a series of what appears to be gateways that allow near instant travel between stars. Myell is considered the only person left behind capable of turning on the spherical gates. Excited he leads his new team into another galaxy seeking the lost scientists, but instead runs into dangerous adversaries as a reptile like race wants control of the gateways and will kill anyone who seems in their way starting with Myell.
This exciting sequel to the superb THE OUTBACK STARS is an entertaining space opera that science fiction fans will enjoy, but also be frustrated by applying the 5 whys technique to the plot with no answers forthcoming why Myell and why only Myell. The story line is fast-paced once the hero is abducted leaving behind his desk jockey stint and never slows down as he and his kidnappers explore new realms. Sandra McDonald provides a fascinating tale, but omits critical plausibility background information.