Carey went home today and is doing okay. Still having some pain but will be better soon. She just needs to get some rest.
Fires of Freedom
Baen, May 2009, $14.00
“Birth of Fire”. Earth teenager Garrett Pittson was convicted of a homicide he did not commit but his violent past did not help the delinquent. He is given a choice of a life sentence on earth without parole or deportation as a convicted slave at the penal colony on Mars; Garrett chooses Mars. On the fourth planet from the sun, Garrett meets angry workers used as expendable slaves in horrific mining conditions by the earth-based ruling multinational corporations. He thrives in the hostile environs and soon is in the forefront of revolt.
“King David’s Spaceship”. The civil war on Haven ended with the monarchy ruling as the outside Imperial Navy destroyed the resistance. Rebel leader Colonel Nathan MacKinnie knows the cost of the defeat first hand as his beloved, his friends, and his soldiers are dead. The victor King David asks Nathan to perform a mission; he wants to refuse but acquiesces as he knows the resistance is over. MacKinnie leads a small contingency to the backward planet Makassar where an ancient First Empire Library exists, but no outsider may enter as this is a holy shrine. He must find books on space travel before the Imperial Empire determines his home needs outside rule as the key for full self-rule membership is space travel.
These are reprints of two terrific action-packed science fiction thrillers with similar themes of freedom fighters trying to keep a much more powerful and technological advanced superpower from dominating them.. BIRTH OF FIRE is an entertaining coming of age tale. KING DAVID’S SPACESHIP (with some references to THE MOTE IN GOD’S EYE) is an intriguing comparative look at civilizations with the Imperial Empire at a twenty-second century or later level of technology; Haven is at late nineteenth-early twentieth century technology; and Makassar is near the bottom with a medieval technology. Both books are exciting as the pursuit of basic rights is the universal connector. Harriet Klausner
House of Suns
Ace, Jun 2009, $26.95
Six million years ago, Abigail Gentian formed her clan the House of Flowers by cloning herself into a thousand male and female shatterlings. She assigns her “children” to travel separately across the galaxy as observers of sentient life-forms. Every two hundred thousand years they are to come home to report on what they watched. The Gentian House has become the wealthiest in the known universe as each child performs their mission diligently.
However, this time something has gone wrong after so many successful spins of the galaxy wheel. The gathering has not occurred on time as someone is killing Abigail’s clones. Worse than death, two shatterlings, Campion and Purslane, have broken the forbidden taboos; not only have they failed to report being five decades late, they have traveled together and fallen in love. Each understands that if their mother learns of their transgression, they will die. However, even before they decide about Mother, the pair realizes that an adversary is murdering their sisters and brothers as they journey home, but death rides with them.
Most of the tale focuses on the dangerous journey home by Campion and Purslane as they have broken other rules especially with a failure to deliver to the family information super library Vigilance and the effort to rescue siblings. This pair finding companionship and love turn Abigail’s inhuman clones into humans as the need to belong and the willingness to sacrifice are traits the shatterlings never had before. Alternating first person between Campion and Purslane (and at times Abigail) seems unnecessary as they are together and their viewpoints almost identical. Still although some fans will miss the vastness of space and time author trademarks that are only hinted at in HOUSE OF SUNS, readers will enjoy this intriguing science fiction thriller as the lead couple goes where no shatterling (or Alastair Reynolds) has gone before with the help of Hesperus the robot they journey to the heart of the galaxy. Harriet Klausner
Till There Was You
Jove, Apr 28 2009, $7.99
In present day London, Zachary Smith is bone weary tired of unreasonable clients like Viscount Franbury who he would like to shove down the man’s throat the architectural drawings, but fears the designs might be ruined. He also is weary of women like the client’s cunning nasty sister Lady Beatrice Smythe-Gordon. Finally he is weary of the paranormal especially those matchmaking ghosts who haunt him. Zach plans to call his “former” boss to tell him what is coming his way and quits.
Zach walks through a door at Artane and finds himself sharing a dungeon with Mary de Piaget, a thirteenth century relative of one of his modern day ghosts. Zach having performed in reenactments has no major adjustment to the era, but has problems with his vow of no women as he is instantly attracted to the cross dressing Mary; whose father has arranged for her to marry as he can no longer delay the inevitable. Being a student of history, Zach understands he must be extremely careful not to change anything, but when someone tries to kill Mary using poison, he brings his beloved into his time; not knowing that the past never goes away.
This is an amusing time travel romance starring a terrific fully developed hero whose good intentions present and past are devastated by love. Mary is a strong person who takes to the role of liberated woman with ease as she was a forerunner prototype back in 1258. Fans will enjoy their fast-paced adventures as he learns finally how not to get out of the rain but to enjoy the rain from his beloved teacher Mary who lives life to the fullest. Harriet Klausner