Twenty-one-year-old Marion Justo has finally finished his training and is ready to assist his father, Admiral Ezra Justo in the family business. Their first task is to recover the Isian, an extraordinary spaceship stolen from the Admiral’s own father by space pirates decades ago. Now Admiral Justo plans to buy this ship back to restore family honor.
The Isian is indeed extraordinary, having the unique ability to use music in order to travel to distant galaxies. Thus it is not surprising when other space travelers try to capture the ship for themselves. Marion suddenly finds himself wandering from one universe to another accompanied by a robot from the ship’s original crew. While desperately searching for planets inhabited by humans, Marion finds Earth. He lands in the hopes of obtaining help to return home and soon becomes entangled in the lives of the Sterling Family with whom he may have more in common than their species. Determined to help them as well as other people he meets, Marion draws the attention of the FBI, the IRS and Homeland Security.
Stephen Miller has clear messages he seeks to present to readers in the first of his stories about Captain Justo. Traditional family and moral values are promoted openly, leaving no doubt as to the author’s intent in writing this book. Marion takes it upon himself to become the mentor of not only the two Sterling brothers, Christopher and Daniel, but of some boys who have been bullying them as well. The young men’s docility to Marion’s suggestions about kindness, forgiveness and obedience seem almost too good to be true. However, Marion’s unconventional methods may account for his results. He uses a box, called a Dream Teacher, as well as other devices that influence the brain and at times even compel youngsters to obey their parents. Young readers may appreciate Marion’s ability to control the actions of the bullies. They may not see the violation of free will this technique poses. Children who like science fiction will enjoy this story, but parents may feel the need to discuss the importance of respecting personal freedom and the using of ethical means to resolve conflict.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.