Bantam, Feb 2002, 25.95, 336 pp.
The four orphan “swans” grew up together as pals at the Falling Leaves Monastery. Three of them (Garth, Teresa, and Eduard) have the ability to HOPSCOTCH into and take over other bodies. The other friend Daragon cannot move about, but can “see” the true identity of an individual.
While Garth's ardor is painting, Teresa turns to spiritualism, and Daragon joins the Bureau of Tracing and Location (BTL). Eduard “sells” his body so that others can avoid temporarily pain and illness like the flu. However, this time something is different as the person Eduard exchanged bodies with apparently has decided to keep the host body. Desperate to find his own body and cleanse himself, Eduard turns to his friends for help.
The premise is frightening yet intriguing as Kevin J. Anderson provides a terrifying look at the future of virtual reality. The story line is loaded and fast-paced especially when Eduard and cohorts search for his body or even when the monastery monk and the head of BTL “interfere”. The central theme of the tale, when the trio switches bodies actually slow down the amateur sleuth investigation that serves as the prime plot. Still fans who relish tales that focus on the impact on society of technology out of control will want to read this science fiction novel and HOPSCOTCH over to award winning Mr. Anderson's strong back list of best sellers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner