Tripointby C. J. Cherryh
Hodder & Stoughton 1995
ISBN 0 340 63829 X
Another of Cherryh’s novels set in the Alliance/Union Universe. On the timeline, “Tripoint” takes place some forty years Station Time (twenty-some years Ship Time) after the events in “Downbelow Station”. The Hinder Stars, being opened up again in “Merchanter’s Luck”, have finally closed as economically unviable. Mallory’s Norway is still mentioned as being around as part of the Alliance militia and the Mazianni are still out in the Deep Dark, though hopelessly factionalised – characters talk of the Fleet and the Mazianni as two distinct entities.
The main character, Thomas Bowe-Hawkins, is one of Cherryh’s outsiders. Even though a member of the Hawkins-clan crewed Sprite, he is the son conceived by rape of Marie Hawkins, the brilliant, yet obsessive Cargo chief. Marie has been conducting a twenty subjective year feud with Austin Bowe, now captain of the Corinthian and Thomas’s father.
All is not as it seems as characters lie to each other and to themselves. Thomas tries to put all the conflicting pieces of information together, even as, by a series of unfortunate events, he ends up an unwilling crewman on his father’s ship.
The climax of the story takes place at Tripoint, an unstable three-point mass in Deep Space, which could serve as a metaphor for Thomas’s relationships with his father and mother. There, a peace of sorts is reached, and Tom discovers more about the Universe and its nature than he suspected, including the price of loyalty to an ideal.
A good read, with interesting ideas on the nature of interstellar trade, and Cherryh’s take on Hyperspace and the nature of Jump travel. A full review with interesting links is at Wikipedia.
Other books by C.J. Cherryh: Merchanter's Luck     Finity's End