Eos, Jun 2004, 24.95, 416 pp.
Two galactic empires overlap at the remote Concord Station that orbits a wasteland orb. Nanotechnical war between humans from Earth and beings from the Ondat Empire fought here and devastated this tiny seemingly worthless planet and its station because the antagonists realize the strategic value of the outpost to observe the edges of the enemy. Ages have passed since the maelstrom of HAMMERFALL ended in an uneasy “cold war” peace, but not before rapid nanoevolution seeds were created.
Observers from Earth, the Outside, and the Ondat keep close tabs on the planet through implants to those made immortal by nanotechnology. Hero of the previous war, Marak tries to keep the fragile peace. He has succeeded with help from former Outsiders Ian and Luz, and Gene War refugee Ila.
The calm ends when an Earth ship carrying Ambassador Andreas Gide arrives. Rumors abound that the visit has to do with an allegedly leaked nanotechnology; a technology that Earth prefers remained quarantined to this orb while the Ondat are a bit looser on the research escaping the area. Is war coming once more with this barren rock again to suffer the consequences?
Fans of cerebral science fiction with numerous concepts to ponder will appreciate this deep look at a cold war on the verge of turning hot. C.J. Cherryh uses the first part of the novel to develop concepts involving the future of science, war, and to a lesser degree politics. The second half moves back and forth between action and further development of the author's message. Readers who enjoy contemplating complex concepts will appreciate this profound tale in which action takes a limiting role to Ms. Cherryh's postulations.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner