Sparrow is a crewman on a generational ship that has to stop an immortal captain from killing off all the mortal crew with his decisions. Sparrow is a crewmember on a generational ship in deep space that has lost his memory due to an accident, but is blocked from searching for answers by the crew and even the computer. The ship is in bad shape from parts being taken from one part of the ship to repair another. As a result, the livable section of the ship and the new generations of the crew are getting smaller and smaller.
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The captain is immortal due to a genetic mutation and wants to fly the ship between arms of the galaxy to look for life somewhere else. The state of the ship and the length of the journey means only he will survive. The crew discusses mutiny, but the captain threatens to wipe them all out. Sparrow discovers that he is immortal too and that the captain has been using the computer to erase his memory and change Sparrow's identity over and over. Sparrow finds out he is the last original human left on the ship and that his original identity, Raymond, led a mutiny against the captain that failed.
The captain releases the air on the ship, but Sparrow gets most of the crew into landing craft to keep them safe. He fights the captain and when he finds the bodies of the original crew it brings back all his memories from all his lives. He uses that knowledge to defeat the captain and claim the ship.
Sparrow/Raymond becomes captain and flys the ship back to Earth. The number of years in the ship is different than the years outside due to relativity, so they have been gone from Earth nearly 20,000 years. Sparrow and the generation of crew living when they arrive plan to repopulate Earth, but they discover an alien ship in orbit and other technology of alien origin on the surface. The novel ends with that mystery.
Best part of story, including ending:
The vastness of the generational story with immortal and mortal characters makes for a great space opera.
Best scene in story:
When Sparrow finds the bodies and his brain splits through all the personalities, it is well written and makes for an exciting character moment in a science fiction story that leans heavily on character feelings.
Opinion about the main character:
The main character represents a tie to what makes us human and is a good voice for this type of science fiction story.