To Clear Away the Shadows by David Drake
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ADVENTURES BEYOND THE EDGE OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE The truce between Cinnabar and the Alliance is holding, and the Republic of Cinnabar Navy is able to explore regions of the galaxy without the explorers being swept up in great power conflict. The Far Traveller is probing sponge space to open routes for Cinnabar tradersand for RCN warships if war breaks out again. But besides astrogation, the Far Traveller is to survey and catalog life forms on the worlds it touches. Harry Harper has just been posted to the Traveller. Hes an RCN officer by convention, a scientist by trainingand a member of one of leading aristocratic families on Cinnabar by birth. Lieutenant Rick Grenville would rather serve on a warship in the heart of battle, but peace and the whim of the Navy Board have put him on an exploration vessel instead. He finds that the dangers on the fringes of civilization are just as great as those from missiles and gunfire that he expected to face. As internal struggles cause the Alliance to relax its iron grip, regional forces are attempting to increase their own powerand theyre not fussy about the means they use. Besides the biological answers that officials on Cinnabar expect the Far Traveller to find, the ships Director of Science, Doctor Veil, has her own agenda: to learn more about the Archaic Spacefarers who roamed the universe tens of thousands of years before humans reached the stars. The crew of the Far Traveller is poised to clear more of the shadows away from the deep past than ever before in human historyif they survive.