Eos, Feb 2004, 6.99, 406 pp.
Environmental Hazard Enforcement Officer Shan Frankland is looking forward to early retirement but Foreign Minister Perault gives her one last mission. A signal from the Constantine Colony was received and the authorities want to see for themselves if it is really suitable for the human race to reside there. Shan has a second mission, memory suppressed until she needs to know it.
When they arrive on Constantine, the colonists are not happy to greet them because they are there on sufferance. The planet belongs to an aquatic sentient species and is guarded by the Wess'har against the isenj who want to colonize Constantine. The major guardian is Aras, who is unique even among his own people, and finds in Shan a kindred spirit who has the same moral code that he abides by. When tragedy strikes, Aras is forced to break the rules of his own people to save Shan who might not thank him for her new life.
The world of Constantine is a fascinating one, a planet that four races have a stake in yet it only really belongs to the race that can't use any of “the land” mass but doesn't want humans polluting their pristine world or conquering it. Aras is there to make sure that does not happen but he is a very lonely person, isolated in many ways from his own kind and the original colonists on Constantine. Karen Travis is a talented storyteller and this reviewer would like to see more adventures starring Aras and Shan.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner