Chena Trust has landed with her family on Pandora, a planet where they hope to make a new life. This environmental utopia is divided into primitive villages and domed cities, both designed to protect the environment. Unfortunately, the rest of the galaxy is suffering from a "diversity crisis" which is quickly killing them all off. They've threatened to destroy Pandora unless the Pandorans help them find a cure. The cure, thinks many Pandorans, may be found in the genes of Chena's mother. Chena's mother, however, is unwilling to cooperate and the Pandorans begin putting the pressure on her to join their experiments.
The book explores how to balance the needs of the environment against the needs of people; the need for freedom against the need for safety; and the concept of free-thinking versus loyalty.
This report prepared by Bridgette Redman
Warner, Sep 2001, 24.95, 496 pp.
Though humanity has colonized much of the heavens, man's reign seems through, as disease and environmental disaster has become common. The only colony still thriving is Pandora where the obsession to keep the ecosystem pure has saved its citizens. However, the other worlds threaten to destroy Pandora if the scientists fail to stop the universally pandemic spread of the Diversity crisis.
Feeling the same desperate sense of urgency with little hope, the Pandorans may have found the answer in the DNA of the Trust family, residents of a nearby-overcrowded space station. After their mother dies, the two daughters, Chena and Teal, become the center of attention of a planet and a universe. As the two sisters flee, everyone wants a piece of their genes and even the good guys will kill to obtain a strand or two.
Award winning Sarah Zettel has written her most compelling novel to date with the stirring KINGDOM OF CAGES. The story line occasionally slows down in order to allow readers to understand the apocalypse now gripping everyone while also furnishing her audience with an insightful look at Pandora's social system. The two siblings are engaging characters whose coming of age is speeded up by a despairing populace willing to do anything for a strand of their genes. Anyone who has read THE QUIET INVASION or PLAYING GOD will already know how good Ms Zettel is. However, this tale is by far her most thought provoking as the Ayn Rand question of the good of society vs. the rights of the individual is played out on a galactic scale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner