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Quadrail Books In Order

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Publication Order of Quadrail Books

Night Train to Rigel (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Third Lynx (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Odd Girl Out (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Domino Pattern (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Judgment at Proteus (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

The name Quadrail refers to a series of novels from award winning author Timothy Zahn. Defined as a Space Opera, the Quadrail series revolves around a human, Frank Compton; hired by the spiders (servant beings responsible for ensuring the optimum operation of the intergalactic Quadrail network), Frank must investigate the Modhri (known for their ability to infiltrate and control other sentient beings), assisted by an enigmatic woman known as Bayta, assigned by the Spiders to accompany him on his mission.


Frank Compton is the primary protagonist of the Quadrail series, the story often progressing based on his actions and reactions to the major events of the Quadrail universe. Frank is human and formerly an agent of the Western Alliance ( a geopolitical faction on earth).

Having lost his job because of insubordination, over the course of the series, Frank displays impressive combat skills, a militarily strategic mind and noteworthy investigative capabilities.

He is accompanied on his adventures by Bayta; though human in appearance, Byta is actually a hybrid, part human and part Chahwyn (who are the enigmatic masters of the Spiders). She becomes an ever present element in his journeys.

Proving equally important to the story are the Modhri; essentially salt water coral, the Modhri have the ability to infect any sentient being that comes into contact with coral, forming clusters in their new hosts’ nervous system and, hence, gaining the ability to influence the creature in question.

The efficacy of the Modhri’s ability emanates from the fact that their control over their host can go undetected, the Modhri sometimes displaying limited influence over the host, doing little more than making subconscious suggestions, other times taking action as the host sleeps. They have been known to cause blackouts when directly controlling their host. They have also displayed the ability to communicate telepathically, linking hosts into a group-mind of sorts.

The world of Quadrail is wide ranging and introduces a number of unique species that differ from humanity, these including Juriani, Pirk, Halkas, Nemuti and Shorshians.

The Author

Timothy Zahn was born on September 1951; a science fiction writer that is also known to dabble in fantasy, Zahn has written numerous novels over the years, most renowned for his work on ‘Thrawn’ a series of novels set in the star wars universe.

One of Timothy Zahn’s earliest works was Cascade Point, a novella that earned the American author a Hugo Award in 1984. Timothy has also made a name for himself with series like the ‘Blackcollar Trilogy’ and the ‘Cobra’ series; though even Timothy will admit that it is because of his work with the Star Wars Universe that his renown has grown, Timothy Zahn’s more popular works including ‘Choices of One’ and the ‘Hand of Thrawn’ Trilogy.

It could be argued that it was through the ‘Thrawn’ Trilogy that Star Wars received some much needed energy, the entire franchise undergoing a revival after years of stagnation and garnering the sort of attention the popular brand required.

Popular titles in the American Author’s quiver include the ‘Terminator Salvation’ novels, ‘Dragonback’ series, graphic novels such as ‘Mara Jade’ and ‘Specter of Thrawn’, and myriad other short works.

Night Train to Rigel

A man has a message for Frank Compton, a former government; before he can make the delivery, however, he falls dead at Frank’s feet. The message is a summons to Frank from the Spiders. These exotic beings operate the unique transportation system known as Quadrail, said to connect civilizations and spans the entire galaxy. The Spiders are worried. News has reached them that an unknown entity has the intention of attacking their transport network and, in turn, the worlds it was designed to serve. The plot will require the enemy to smuggle battleships through the Quadrail.

Frank Compton is charged with stopping this dastardly plot by locating an enemy that has eluded all prying eyes, a foe determined to enslave the earth and the rest of the galaxy.

Night Train to Rigel is not the next great American novel; far from it. One could never describe it as being thought-provoking and readers are not likely to impute to the characters great thinking and complex philosophical ideas.

Night Train to Rigel, the first in the Quadrail series, was designed to thrill and entertain. The novel doesn’t strive to build convoluted plots as much as it tries to avail action, nifty conspiracy theories and compelling villains. And that isn’t even taking into account all the cool gadgets.

The world of Quadrail is wide and diverse, and Zahn spares no effort in bringing the various races and technological wonders to readers in great detail; though Zahn has been accused of dropping the ball when it comes to his characters, doing very little to make them compelling.

However for some readers, it is the normalcy of Zahn’s characters, especially Frank and his ‘everyday man’ persona that is so attractive. Most critics agree that Night Train to Rigel is bound to entertain, even mildly, all readers with the slightest interest in fantasy and science fiction.

The Third Lynx

Frank Campton foiled a plot to enslave the galaxy; however all is not well. The Modhri, an ancient race with telepathic capabilities, are still loose; the walkers, hosts of the Modhri forced to do their bidding, are everywhere. Only Compton stands against them because only the former government agent knows how best to fight them as they wage war against the various civilizations of the galaxy.

With the assistance of Bayta, a woman tied to the spiders, Frank with have to contend against agent Morse (who pursues him, suspecting the former agent of murder) even as he attempts to stand against the Modhri, racing the ancient creatures through the stations of the Quadrail in an attempt to acquire a set of valuable sculptures. No one, not even Frank, understands what the Modhri want with these remnants of a dead civilization. Frank doesn’t believe the galaxy would fare well if the Modhri succeed.

The second novel in the Quadrail is paced much faster than its predecessors. And while the story gets a little contrived, the novel manages to create a thrilling atmosphere akin to a spy novel, Frank taking the form of a James Bond style character; which, to an extent, is the story’s one major failing. Frank is a little too perfect in this one, almost infallible and seemingly unstoppable.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Quadrail

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