The Web of Titan: A Galahad Book
by Dom Testa
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Teen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765360786
Date: 29 June 2010 List Price $8.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
A deadly virus contracted by the particles in the tail of the comet Bhaktul that orbited inside the Earth's atmosphere proves fatal as everyone is affected who is over the age of eighteen; this includes future youngsters once they turn the lethal age. In an effort to save the endangered human species from extinction, a ship is built to take two hundred and fifty-one of earth's brightest teens no older than sixteen to colonize a new home in an earth-like planet in a distant solar system. Two years after the pandemic disaster, the Galahad leaves with a stowaway on board (see The Comet's Curse).
Led by Triana Martell and her Council, the Galahad journeys through the solar system, but as the vessel swings by Titan, one of Saturn's moons, they stop to pick up a metal pod that has the same orbit as they have. The teen crew is lost as to what it is, how it got there or what it might contain. The Galahad's doctor is ordered to prepare a syringe for someone coming out of suspended animation. The side mission proves successful, but once opened they find an empty adult size cybernation chamber and a smaller compartment in which a cat named Iris resides.
When they pick up the object, several crew members come down with blazing headaches and their eyes turn a glowing Halloween like orange. Finally the ion drive of the ship accelerates way beyond the programmed speed; if it continues at the same rate of increases the Galahad will explode shortly. Desperate Triana tries to cope with the emergency, but it may be too late.
The crew was hand picked because they are intelligent and gifted, especially to perform assigned roles on the ship; they understand this and carry out their jobs with energy. Also on board are the conceptual thinkers who can take apart a problem mentally and come up with potential solutions; that as the Gulf calamity proves does not always work. Still this is the group that everyone else depends on to come up with a way to keep the mission and its select team alive.
Even with its deep characterizations, the Galahad Book's science fiction thriller is action driven. Starting with the pod, the illness, the accelerated out of control ship, and the desperate attempt to find out how to stop what is happening to them, the story line feels like it moves faster than the speed of light. Young adult readers will join the crew wondering if what was in the pod has caused the calamity and will make it things worse.
Obviously targeting young readers, The Web of Titian will appeal to adults as well, as these mature teens fight to survive what looks increasingly like the end of the mission. Leaders like Triana know they survived the sabotage of 252 (see The Comet's Curse) so they encourage the team not to quit as time runs out she and the others try to find a way to extract themselves from what could prove the end of humans on earth, as those still alive back home are dying when they turn eighteen. Fans will want to read this stirring SF thriller as well as its predecessor and look forward to the up coming Cassini Code.