Trying to find a sci fi novel from the 80's/90's

DAgent

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Hi everyone, new blood here, thought this might be the best place to try to do a little search for a novel I read once but can't recall it's title of the name of the author.

The book in question seemed to be part of a series, it refereed to the events of a previous novel where at least three young people from earth (probably late teens) at least one of whom was a girl were now living on a highly advance alien world. I can vividly remember the text stating they were still amazed at how they could get meals served on what looked like very expense plates with expensive cutlery out of a device very much like a Star Trek TNG replicator, and how it was all just put back in the machine and vanished.

Plot wise they end up taking a trip on a spaceship crewed by humanoid cat people and end up investigating a planet and find themselves being pulled down by a tractor beam. They realise they can beat the tractor beam but the kids convince the captain to let the ship be pulled down so they can investigate. They soon end up captured by the villain of the peace and end up being put through a maze to train the villains robots (it might also be to prove that machines are superior to organic life) but they are able to trick the robots into destroying parts of the walls and use that to help them escape back to the ship.

Other things I'm less clear on would be if a member of the cat people panicked and wound up being accused of cowardice, and whether or not he was redeemed, I do vaguely recall one of the cat crew got shot dead near their ship. And beyond knowing they all got away I've no idea what happened to the villain afterwards.

I had thought it might be a Douglass Hill novel, but looking over his wikipedia there's no mention of anything similar to this.

So, any ideas anyone?

Thanks in advance.
 

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