Tor, Feb 2004, 25.95, 414 pp.
Xenoarcheologist Gretchen Anderssen looks forward to some well deserved R&R especially quality time with her children whom she has not seen in what seems like eons. However, at the space transport, she learns that the Company needs her and her team to take a short detour to investigate rumors of a possible major find of a First Sun artifact on the planet Jagan.
Her Hesht companion Magdalena and her pilot David Parker feels they are being set up and their misgivings prove valid as the trio has landed in the middle of an armed conflict. The Méxicali has declared war on the Jehanan, assumed to have been native to Jagan by the Empire, to enable Tezozómoc, the Emperor's youngest son to taste blood. The dynamic threesome spend most of their time working to avert a war through political negotiations and discovering the secret to the HOUSE OF REEDS.
This exciting sequel to WASTELAND OF FLINT provides further adventures of the Japanese-Aztec Méxicali Empire on numerous sentient species with the confrontation occurring on Jagan. The story line is character driven, but not just by the intrepid fully developed archeological trio as the secondary cast adds depth in terms of military, planetary history, and non-human intelligent races. Though some readers may find the military tactics quite lengthy (it is a military science fiction tale) fans will cherish this tale that brings alive the various races that populate Harlan's universe.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner