Ace, Dec. 2003, 14.00, 384 pp.
The planet of Thalassa is mostly a water world with two million inhabitants spread out on numerous islands. The first person who lived on that world was the pilot who burned out on her last Jump and was stranded. Jumping is so addictive that the pilot wanted to die but the harsel (a sea creature similar to a whale) bonded with her and refused to let her pass away. Together they explored The Pilot's new world and when the colonists came, she was able to hide herself in plain sight.
Centuries later in a small village, the Guild storyteller Teller notices the street child Samad and informally adopts him. He learns to love her harsel Abeha, who encourages the closeness Teller feels for Samad for soon she will become a female and have her eggs fertilized. After she gives birth she will die and Abeha wants to make sure her human will not follow her by giving her someone else to love. The plan works better than anyone, especially Samad, expected.
This is a rich, in depth cultural look at a society that is not technologically advanced. Those humans that can bond with harsels form a communication web that allows an island society to stay in touch with another. It is gratifyng to watch Samad change from a frightened street kid to an adult who bears his losses and responsibilities with dignity and honor. STORYTELLER is a unique, amazing reading experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner