I owe Charles Gramlich a nod for turning me on to this one when he posted on Alex J. Cavanaugh‘s debut novel last week.

CASSASTAR is a coming of age story of a young man named Byron, parents dead, raised by an indifferent older sister, whose dream was to become a Cosbolt fighter pilot. The little two men fighters head the battle in Humankind’s war with an alien race and pilots were a growing necessity. It would get him off Cassa and give him a chance to BE someone.

He had the talent level and he had something else: an attitude. Cocky, self-assured to a fault, he trusts almost no one, his navigator Trindel being the exception. Even there,he keeps his most guarded thoughts shielded from his partner. The pair are linked by telepathy, making their moves in a space fight faster. It’s all a matter of need, the partnership.

They have just completed preliminary training in simulators and were headed to Guaard for advanced training and a chance to get into the cockpit of a Cosbolt. There Byron meets Bassa, the head trainer of the school, a man haunted by a past tragedy,who recognizes something in the hardheaded young man. and becomes determined to help Byron achieve his full potential.

When a previously hidden talent, somehow missed in all the tests when the boy was growing up, Bassa makes a fateful decision to help the young man, a decision that has profound consequences for both men.

I quite enjoyed this one. Mr. Cavanaugh is off to a good start and he’s one I will definitely keep an eye out for what comes next. CassaStar comes from Dancing Lemur Press.

Check this one out, space opera fans. You’ll like it.