"Part one" of this book gives us Niki, a prince on a well-established colony world heavily influenced by Welsh culture (but not the Welsh culture that one usually finds in fantasy novels - more like that of modern Britain.) 19-year-old Niki has been a typically self-centered teenager, but when he returns from summer vacation to find the political situation in his city rapidly deteriorating, he finds a new sense of responsibility. But it seems that it may be his family responsible for the troubles, and finds himself associating with some dangerous elements amongst the "common people."
This part of the book was a well-done and absorbing political intrigue, and I was looking forward to the unraveling of the twists and turns... when it all came to a drastic end rather abruptly.
"Part two" starts with Niki again, between 5-10 years later. He's left his past totally behind, and realized his dream of becoming a space pilot. However, he's done this by signing up for an experimental procedure that depends on both hardware and drugs to meld the pilot with his ship. Unfortunately, the drugs cause a degenerative condition - and so far, none of the experimental subjects have lived more than five years. Bitter and desperate, when Niki is approached by a famous interstellar pop star and asked to accompany him on a desperate and illegal quest that reminds Niki of his youth, he signs up for the job. However, more than just memories will be back to haunt him....
Bull ties up the seeming discrepancy between the two parts well at the end - it works, but I still found the abrupt shift a bit jarring.
Still, this was a well-written and enjoyable book - a bit darker and more introspective than much 'space opera,' but still an entertaining, action-filled story.
Two sections to the book - first, 'falcon' tries to save his world and then 'falcon' tries to save the universe, even as he's dying. Does he make it, for either or both?
Great tension, themes of loyalty, betrayal and sacrifice.