Defender of the Flame
Sylvia Engdahl, author
Starship pilot Terry Radnor is puzzled and outraged when he is suddenly recalled from interstellar exploration and then, just when he has become involved in a secret project offering him extraordinary physical and psychic capabilities, he is transferred to a cruiser for a tour of duty he expects to hate. But the cruiser's mission proves to be unlike anything he could have imagined. Advancing rapidly in his career, Terry finds fulfillment in love and in commitment to a cause—until an ironic twist of fate tears him away from everything he cares about. He is forced to build a whole new life, far from all that has previously mattered to him. Is there any hope that he can fulfill his pledge to protect the world whose safety is crucial--more crucial than anyone else knows--to the future of humankind? While this novel follows Stewards of the Flame and Promise of the Flame, it begins a separate series that doesn't depend on having read them.