Bantam, Feb 2003, 6.99, 416 pp.
Between the deaths caused by the Black Cloud and the resulting demises caused by runaway plagues, Earth is dying. It no longer has a sufficient gene pool capable of creating a viable population. Humanity's only hope lies in a message from a planet thirty light years away stating Earth can reclaim what it has lost. Billionaire Bailey Shaw funds a ship, the Restoration, which takes people to this orb, but what they find there shocks them.
The native Dassa look human-like, but do not reproduce the same way. Women that can breed get their tongues cut out and become slaves called hoda. The Dassa is not the ones who sent the message but their creators the Quads did. Nobody alive on the planet knows where the genetic markers that earth desperately needs can be found. Unless someone uncovers the puzzle, the human race will die out.
The two races that look almost identical on the surface have very different thought processes and ways of reproducing. Both distrust one another when they first meet. The punishment the Dassa mete out to childbearing women is horrific but the Terrans can do nothing to help them. If the hoda want freedom they must fight for it on their own because the people from earth must concentrate on their prime mission of saving the species. The audience will feel that Dassa society exists and author Kay Kenyon has visited the realm she has written about in her novel THE BRAIDED WORLD, which enable the audience to experience second hand this alien but fascinating orb.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner