Before you pick up Harvest of Stars by Poul Anderson, you better be ready for a heavy and confusing read. There are all kinds of "kudos" on the cover, but I'm not sure that everyone who wrote them actually read the book. It has its moments, but can really get bogged down in itself easily.
The initial premise starts out pretty well, with Kyra Davis, a star pilot for Fireball, Anson Guthrie, an unusual "talking head" and Robert E. Lee, an "intuitionist", on the run from the Avantists, who have taken over the world government after the usual 21st century catastrophies. Guthrie is the disembodied consciousness of the leader of Fireball, a huge multinational, and reaching into outer space, corporate conglomerate that has been steadily undermining the Avantists ever since they took power. He also went on the first mission to Alpha Centauri.
Actually, he didn't really go, a duplicate went, and then transfered his consciousness back to the remaing "brain in a box" when he got back. This is where it gets really convoluted. And confusing. Somehow, the Avantists find the extra Guthrie and brainwash him into giving up Fireball. So Kyra, Guthrie in the box, and Lee have to escape earth and head for the stars, and take back what is theirs, sort of.
This is a really confusing book. I originally thot it would be a good one, but the deeper I got into it, the more bored I got. It kinda got interesting about half way through, but there was so much political dogma and technical stuff, I got tired of it. And the book should have been two, not one. The first part should have been second and vice versa. If you want to give it a try, have at it, but be prepared. It doesn't exactly end like you might think, and there are some really brilliant passages when Anderson describes Guthrie's trip to Alpha Centauri. But overall, I personally would not rate it as high as the professional critics did.
Title: Harvest of Stars