First in a series of 4.
It could be humanity's most glorious accomplishment - an interstellar ship designed for a peaceful scientific mission of exploration and searching for sentient life elsewhere in the universe.
Unfortunately, international politics being as you might expect, not everything is running as smoothly as the researchers might wish - as a matter of fact, some countries have pulled out their personnel, funding to the ship has been cut, and there are plans afoot to scuttle the whole mission, arm the ship with nuclear devices and use it as an orbiting weapons platform, never to leave our solar system.
Against this background, the book focuses more on interpersonal relationships and politics than on action - we get to know Victoria, Satoshi and Stephen Thomas - partners in a multiethnic group marriage that old-timers find shocking and young folks feel is old-fashioned. Theoretical alien-contact specialist J.D. and her genetically altered 'diver' friend Zev. Elderly ex-General Cherenkov - former hero or terrorist? And possibly, the screwdriver in the works - undercover agent and militarist Griffith...
Good, but the book ends leaving you feeling like it's all a set-up for events yet to come... luckily I've got the next book!
Book one in the series, very good
They were idealists, scientists, and pioneers. Their ship was more than a mere spacecraft: Starfarer was both a habitat and an experiment, unfurling its solar sails to a rendezvous with the unknown, from which its predecessor never returned. Yet for Victoria MacKenzie, scientist and leader of the ships revolutionary command structure, the first and greatest danger came not from space but from earth itself.
A shifting political landscape has turned the government against the voyage, and now the missions controllers are demanding a new regime of martial law. To MacKenzie it is clear that Starfarer is being co-opted for a military purpose. To save the mission she must do the unthinkable: hijack the ship and continue the peaceful search for extraterrestrial life even at the risk of nuclear suicide!