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City of Pearl by Karen Traviss

17 Apr

City of Pearl cover

City of Pearl
Karen Traviss
Eos, 2004
ISBN 0-06-054169-5

Review by Ian Sales

Shan Frankland is a hard-as-nails police officer in a near-future in which corporations dominate ineffectual governments. All crops are genetically-engineered and trademark, such that no foodstuff can be grown without paying a license fee to a company. When Frankland is offered command of a mission to Earth’s only interstellar colony on Cavanagh’s Star’s second planet, she accepts the mission. But she doesn’t know exactly why, because whatever was told to her to persuade her to accept was part of a Suppressed Briefing, which only releases information into her memory in response to certain triggers.

The mission arrives at Cavanagh’s Star 2 and finds a situation it had not expected: a small low-tech human colony with an extremely small environmental footprint living under the aegis of an alien race, the wess’har. The aliens are actually native to Cavanagh’s Star 2′s twin planet, and are on Cavanagh’s Star 2 to protect that planet’s native squid-like aquatic race, the bezeri. Who had been almost polluted to extinction by a third alien race, the isenj, who had colonised the world. The wess’har wiped out the isenj colony, but now allow the humans to stay on sufferance. Aras is the wess’har responsible for the planet and its ecosystem, and he has been given this role because he has been infected by a native parasite, the c’naatat, which has made him immortal and almost impossible to kill. Continue reading

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