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There's a book that I read several years ago that I'd like to find. However, I cannot remember enough about it to find it myself. Neither the title nor author remain in my mind, nor any keyword or phrase that's unique enough for the Grand Google to nail for me. Hence my desperate plea here.

In the book, there is an interstellar civilization composed of several power blocks. The entire civilization did not fill the galaxy, but it did span several stellar systems. Maybe 10s or 100s.

I seem to remember that one of the civilizations was a decentralized group referred to as the Brotherhood and they seemed to have been keen on preserving old learning and political ideals.

A derelict alien spacecraft from outside all of this had been discovered and at least two of the power blocks sent ships to recover it. I don't recall if they knew at the time about the power the alien ship had, but they must have had some clue since there was some urgency in capturing this ship.

One of the ships sent to capture the Alien craft was commanded by somebody who was rather shaken up, to say the least. He had had some big trauma in his past (like... the last ship he captained was annihilated with all hands.) so he was kinda bummed out about things and wasn't really putting his heart into getting this done. He was assisted by the ship's AI who had a lot of soul-to-soul chats with the captain, and at one point almost relieved him of command because he was just not getting the job done. I think the ship's name was Boaz. These were the "good guys".

There was at least one other ship sent from the "bad guys."

The alien craft had some remarkable powers. The interior volume was apparently infinite and the operators could see and manipulate anything in the universe. There might have been some example given where all the rats somewhere were found and disposed of.

Whoever had control was tempted by the ole absolute power corrupts absolutely problem, but nobody but nobody could stop them because of their power. They could eat and multiply within the ship and become real bad-asses. But alas... (or hurray, depending upon which side you're one) everything fails eventually, and whoever controlled the ship would eventually succumb to some horrible end. Whereupon the ship became derelict again until some other lucky race found it and repeated the cycle.

The ship had an AI that was real interested in taking the power for itself, but there was some mechanical, spring-loaded, mechanism outside of its control that needed to be worked in order to execute power. The AI apparently never figured out how to "work the spring" and this made him crazy angry.

The ending is equally foggy for me. I'm pretty sure the good guys got the ship. They agonized over what to do with it. Apparently it was indestructable and nobody wanted to taste the temptation of all that power. In the end they dumped it on the surface of a neutron star. There it sat forever more, probably with the crazy AI really pissed off about being there.

If you've read this book, you'll recognize it immediately from these clues. I'm looking forward to finding out the name of this book. Thanks!

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It was the ship name that gave it away. 5-seconds googling for "starship boaz" was enough... Good description though –  Richard Apr 27 at 12:48

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The Artifact by W. Michael Gear

In a galaxy on the brink of civil war the Brotherhood seeks to keep the peace through diplomacy, subterfuge, and control of both technological advances and the carefully gathered knowledge of countless worlds. But now Speaker Archon, formerly a privateer and currently head of the world of Star's Rest, has brought news of a discovery which may prove a great boon to humankind or a catalyst for its destruction.

So the Brotherhood ship Boaz, carrying diplomats representing all the human planets, stations, and colonies, is launched on a journey to distant Star's Rest. Only Archon and his daughter know what awaits them there. And neither they nor Captain Carrasco can anticipate the treacherous games of intrigue and betrayal about to be played out aboard Boaz. Yet the greatest danger is that they will actually survive to reach Star's Rest and the alien Artifact. For this creation of a long-vanished civilization has been waiting patiently for millennia to lure humans to extinction.…

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