Jewel Delis, the novel's heroine, is an arkist – a person who strives to preserve what little animal life is left on Earth. Encountering an immense amount of opposition, Jewel is forced to take the dogs she'd been working with for years away from Earth, or they would certainly be destroyed.
The planet Moss seems to provide just the right place for a brief relocation until a more permanent solution can be found. But the planet itself has secrets. What are the colorful flame-like beings that dance in the clearings at night? What happened to almost 80 people who went for walks in the moss and never returned? And what are the bright flashes of light that make people disappear?
This report prepared by Liz Cooper
Eos, Sept 2003, 25.95, 454 pp.
In the far distant future, mankind has colonized other worlds and made alliances with many sentient species. On Earth people live in small apartments in huge towers miles high. Whatever land isn't used for habitation is used for growing food, which means that the flora and fauna is pretty much extinct. Whatever animals are left are cherished by the arkists who need to take them off planet since a law was passed saying that all non-humans on earth must be destroyed.
Jewel Delis is determined that dogs will have a place to live free and she has a staunch supporter in someone highly placed in Earth's government. She travels with her brother Paul to the planet Moss to see if they can find a way of communicating with beings of different color light. Moss and its moon Treasure also play an intricate part in the canine breeding program but this is a strange and unusual planet, one that will take Jewel on the adventure of a lifetime.
Sheri S. Tepper is one of the best world builders in the science fiction genre; a writer who can make alien beings and unique planets seem very real and alive. The heroine is very committed to saving the dogs and she makes huge sacrifices to ensure their survival and that will endear her to readers. A sub-plot involving two species determined to wipe out humanity is a pivotal and necessary device to advance the story line. THE COMPANIONS is a special work, one that will appeal to fans who love great space opera.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner