Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail #1) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Night Train to Rigel
Series: Quadrail #1
Authors: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 279
Words: 105.5K



The story starts with former government agent, Frank Compton, meeting a young man who drops dead at his feet. Compton finds a ticket to a strange, interstellar train called the Quadrail. During Compton’s ride on the Quadrail he falls asleep, and wakes up in the custody of the spiders, the operators of the Quadrail. The Spiders explain to Compton their worries of a weapon of mass destruction, which may be able to bypass their Quadrail security. Compton agrees to help, and is given a pass for the Quadrails and they assign him a traveling companion named Bayta, who has a strange talent for being telepathic in her communication to the Spiders.

Frank Compton discovers the power behind the Quadrail system: an ancient civilization called the Chahwyn. On the course of his travels on the Quadrail, he learns of the existence of the Modhri: the equally ancient enemy of the Chahwyn. The Modhri has its mind bent on controlling the galaxy.

My Thoughts:

When I read this originally back in 2006 I was still under the impression of my youthful foray into Zahn and thought he was an exciting and blockbuster of an author. As such, I didn’t enjoy this back then as I was still expecting something from Zahn that he had never given. That something is excitement. I have come to realize that Zahn is a dull writer. He has fantastic ideas, writes correctly and is an absolute work horse, but you’ll never come out of one of his books pumping your fist and screaming “Oh yeah, that was AWESOME!” If you do, well, I’m guessing either you are 12 years old or your life is even more boring than mine.

So with all of that whininess, it was just to explain that I went into this re-read with a much more accurate set of expectations. I wasn’t disappointed. I read a good Future Detective story with lots of talking points and just enough barely there action to keep me awake. Having read much of the “mystery” genre, and specifically the “detective mystery” genre, this made a lot more sense. Didn’t make it any more exciting, but it did make sense.

Having bumped this up 1/2star, I think I’m going to go through the entire series. I wasn’t sure when I started, but I did enjoy this enough to warrant looking at the other books.

I’m using the original cover for this review. In ’06 I remarked how ugly it was. It still is, isn’t it? I know it’s hard to see in that little pix, but sandy colored nobodies without an ounce of attraction to them isn’t going to draw the readers in. HOWEVER, I was looking for a different cover and the new one is even worse, if you can believe it:

How boring and unattractive is THAT?!? Publishers certainly do move in Mysterious Ways….

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

19 thoughts on “Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail #1) ★★★✬☆

  1. I haven’t heard of this one of his. I read one of his Star Wars books (Heir of the Jedi? The one that was supposed topick up after Return of Jedi) and was pretty bored. It wasn’t BAD, I just wasn’t wowed? So I can totally see that. Nice that you liked this one enough to keep on, though.

    Definitely like the first cover better. That first one definitely has that sorta eye rolling 80’s vibe, but the newer one… yeah, ugh.

    Thanks for the kind words about my mom by the way. Appreciate it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Greg.
      I do have a question. How do you respond to comments, overall? I know you get a lot and you don’t respond to everyone individually, but do you go to other peoples’ sites in a rotation? or just random? I’m curious so I know what to expect, or not. I haven’t interacted with you long enough to figure it out on my own (plus, half the people on blogspot, their avatar leads to a dead end for me)

      and zahn wrote Heir to the Empire, the first in a trilogy that pretty much reignited Star Wars before the prequels came out. Started the Star Wars extended universe and we all thought it was canon until it wasn’t anymore, by disney’s fiat.


  2. Well, I’m not that organized frankly so there’s no real rotation, although I do try to visit the same blogs more or less regularly. I wing it?? I used to respond to comments a lot but have been terrible lately at that. I’ve been trying just to return visit and comment on blogs rather than stress over it…

    That’s right, I remember that now. And wow he kinda reinvigorated Star wars, which is cool. I remember not being happy about all that canon eing dumped, not that I’d read much of it but it seemed a crappy thing to do to fans who had enjoyed that over the years…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good enough for me. I just needed to know what basis to operate with you. You are now stuck in the “random” corner with the other randos 😀

      It was almost 25 years worth of books and stories that Disney dumped straight down the tubes. That was the day my fandom died for star wars, it just took a couple more years for it to catch up with me.


    1. Well, I do deliberately try to re-read a lot. So if a series or author had my interest in the past, chances are pretty good I’ll try it again. But if it doesn’t work out, I won’t continue. So with Zahn, once I’m done with this Quadrail series I’ll probably be done with re-reading anything by Zahn.

      Liked by 1 person

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