Tor, May 2002, 27.95, 447 pp.
On Allemage, three weeks have passed since her mother died. Now her brother Jentry plans to sell Rue Cassels into slavery as he claims their brown dwarf “Halo World” cannot sustain her with its dying Cyler Contract economy. Believing her dictatorial sibling would gladly rid himself of her while making money off her, Rue flees fortunate enough to escape from the mining colony.
On Erythrion, she finds what she originally thought is a ship owned by the relatively new Rights Economy but is actually an alien vessel. However, Rue is forced to share the ship with the Rights Economy's Admiral Crisler and inter-galaxy renowned alien experts Herat and Bequith. Herat's thesis of civilization through the eons is that the strongest die from within with only two known exceptions: the Chicxulub and the Lasa. Everyone wants a piece of the action that is expected to gleam from revealing the secrets of the alien vessel so that once again Rue, beneath the bottom of the food chain, is being pushed aside for the so-called better good.
PERMANENCE is a tremendous futuristic outer space thriller that provides incredible insight into the interrelationships between politics, social structure, and economics yet never slows down. The key characters are fully developed and all the varying species seem real including those that have bare remnants remaining of a once glorious civilization. Karl Shroeder combines a deep cast with a cerebral action packed plot that will permanently remain on the keep shelf of genre fans to reread over the eons.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner