Pros:Good story, solidly plotted.
Cons:Women don't fare as well in Bova's writing.
The Bottom Line: Not the best of Bova's work, but a good read nevertheless.
Voyagers III: Star Brothers is, of course, the third book in a series. In the first book, author Ben Bova wrote of a first contact as a spaceship is spotted orbiting Jupiter, then heads for Earth. A group led by astronaut Keith Stoner rushes to find a way to make peaceful contact with the ship. In the second book, Stoner returns to Earth from years in cryogenic freeze aboard the rocket, carrying a secret. He becomes an object of curiosity and is sought after by many governments and groups, but shows new abilities after his alien sojourn.
Here in book three, Stoner has developed his alien abilities, and has decided what to do with them: make a better world. To do that Stoner must share his secret with select people around the world. Alien nanotechnology gives him a link with an alien mind, and enhanced mental powers.
Sharing this secret means sharing bodily fluids, which Stoner usually accomplishes with a "blood brothers" ceremony. He does so with an African tribal leader, and a South American president. The people he touches become "great souls," tuned in to the greater good. Stoner himself works to find a way to end poverty and starvation in Africa, and ends up hosting a conference of warring factions in the war-torn continent, in an improptu session.
You do not have to have read the first two parts to understand this work, though it helps. While I liked the first book the best, this is a good imagining of how an alien influence could help the world become a better place, and how perhaps it's the only thing that could. Several characters from earlier in this series also return, and their stories have advanced, as Stoner is now married to his longtime lover Jo Camerata, who as head of Vanguard Industries is his most powerful ally.
Bova's inherent chauvenism is in force, as all his "blood brothers" are in fact brothers, with no women involved until the end of the story. As usual, the situations are thrilling, the yarn is good, and the characters are compelling. It's a good read.
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