The death of her cherished friend and guide Nemo, the alien squidmoth, came as a crushing blow to J.D. Sauvage. But J.D. and the first contact crew of the Earth ship Starfarer hope that the enigmatic being's legacy - the starship Nautilus - will lead them closer to communion with alien intelligence. Awaiting them on their journey are the representatives of the Four Worlds and one last chance to join interstellar Civilization, from which Earth has long been barred.
But first J.D. and her fellow wayfarers must convince the aliens that humanity is worthy of Civilization. It is an argument that they will find hard to win, given humanity's violent past. What's worse, they don't have much time to win it. For the cosmic string that can guide the Starfarer home is fast unraveling. Soon the beleagured crew will have to make a decision that will affect all the people of Earth: whether to turn back to Earth while there's still time - or make one last desperate effort to win over their implacable alien hosts.
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OK, so after having given Metaphase a lower rating, solely because of its exhausting length/content, I've just finished Nautilus (clap, clap, clap, Brava!) and happily give it a solid 5 gold stars, despite the fact that it was 3 hours longer than the previous book in the series; you know, the one I bemoaned the length of. What was the difference, you might ask. Well, first of all, to my ears and brain, Gayle Hendrix got better at narrating. She eased off of those rise/fall, fall/rise intonations at the end of her sentences that, upon occasion, had me looking for a blackboard to scratch my fingernails on in protest. Whew!
The second thing that made this such a swell read was the action; action between alien and human, human and human, alien and alien...lots going on. Metaphase plodded while Nautilus flung me around in the stars and kept me engaged, start to finish.
The only downside is knowing the length of time between the creation of Nautilus and now, today, surely precludes another book in the series. Too bad, because the book ended with such ripe possibilities of MORE!