|Submitted by Anonymous|
(Mar 27, 2000)
I made a mistake with this novel. Well two really.
The first was to read it without refreshing my memory as to what had gone before. The second was to have read it without waiting for the third of this trilogy to appear.
This is the second book of a second trilogy. In fact the first trilogy was not really a trilogy in the same way this second is.
The universe to which Brin takes us is one in which the 5 galaxies are populated by many alien races, and have been for some time. There are a number of facts given which set the scene for all that follows.
- No intelligent species has ever reached full sapiency without help. That is uplift, by another species.
- Once uplifted, a race becomes indentured to their patrons for a (long) time.
- Humans appear to have no patrons. Did they uplift themselves ?
- It is an article of faith among the senior races that no race can uplift themselves, So who were the first ones ?
Brin managed to finish the first series without ever seriously addressing the conundrums listed above.
This second series of three books, linked much more closely than the first, sets about answering them with a new set of questions.
In the first book we find ourselves on Jijo, A planet which should be fallow, preparing itself to be re-settled with sapient beings in the indeterminate future.
But wait, we have 6 'sooner' races who have illegally settled this world, looking for a better way to live and die.
We are introduced to Hoons, g'Keks, Trakei and their far more dangerous cousins, Jophur. Qhueuns Glavers, and the centaur like Urs. Humans also have found this place. The most recent settlers, they seem to have brought relative stability to the strange colony. Not least by introducing Biblos, a library of Earth knowledge for all races to share.
Jijo itself is not all that it seems. Psi active geological features are but one of the strange features of the planet, Mulc spiders work away destroying all traces of technology left by the last legal inhabitants, the mysterious Bayur.
This second book saves us from the cliffhanger ending of 'Brightness Reef', and shows us what becomes of the party of assorted youths in search of hidden old technology. We were left with them having just plunged over a continental shelf.
Along the way we are re-aquainted with Streaker. The scout starship crewed by dolphins, and their human patrons. On the run for 5 years, what is the mysterious cargo they carry and why is it so important to everyone else in the 5 galaxies.
It would be cruel to give any more plot clues in what is after all a review, not a synopsis.
suffice it to say that the central issues are still not resolved, and further questions have been raised.
It all promises a fantastic finale in the next book 'Heavens Reach'.
All of the uplift books are heartily recommended. Read them in order.
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