The following description from the Publishers Weekly:
In “alien contact” science fiction, the aliens come from far off, light-years away. But what if the aliens were closer to home? What if the next great life-form with which we must contend isn’t from the stars but from our hard drives? In Zettel’s second novel (after Reclamation), Katmer Al Shei, owner and engineer of the starship Pasadena, and her crew become pawns in an elaborate scheme to bring human beings and artificially intelligent life-forms into deadly conflict. But the real protagonist ends up being Evelyn Dobbs, the ship’s Fool, who, hired to amuse the crew for its long voyage, finds herself trying to contain the threat of war. The influence of Asimov’s robot stories and C.J. Cherryh’s elaborate, sophisticated spaceship adventures are both evident here. But while Zettel’s skills as a teacher of technical writing are very handy when it comes to computer terminology, her human characters are less well developed. Still, Zettel’s story has a lively pace and gains more than enough momentum to keep readers from noticing the time. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.