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Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite
Crisis of Conscience is the third book in the Flight of the Kestrel series by A. M. Thomas but can be read as a standalone novel. The author combines space adventure with a strong moral dilemma to write the fates of compelling characters. On a delicate mission aboard the Kestrel, Captain Joseph Darrow and his crew find themselves in dire straits in uncharted alien land. When Dr. Anders dies, leaving nothing of his coveted work behind, his daughter Raven is the only person they rely on to get the top secrets of her father’s invention. But having her drugged and kidnapped doesn’t start off well, and convincing her to give away any secrets of her father’s machine becomes a daunting task. When his team is grave danger, Darrow must choose between theft and murder and walking the high ground of ethical behavior.
Crisis of Conscience opens with a strong premise introducing the question of priorities. The captain must choose between his sense of honor, shunning theft and murder, and his loyalty to his crew. Darrow is an admirable character with a strong sense of moral rectitude, but he and his crew are thrown into a land filled with danger, including pirates. Tanner is another interesting character and A. M. Thomas uses him to create suspense, keeping readers guessing as the story progresses. His very existence is a secret and it is interesting how it evolves. Dr Anders’ work is a major part of the plot and his secret is crucial in the mission. I enjoyed the way his daughter reacted to the situation. The streams of consciousness unravel her psyche and allow readers to feel for her, even if she is a Zoan, a race that never shows emotions. A. M. Thomas writes well and has a strong gift for plot and character. There is so much to look for in this novel: the clever plotting, the beguiling writing, and the memorable characters.