Del Rey, Feb 2005, 13.95, 416 pp.
In 1881, Zianno Zezen celebrates his twelfth birthday "for the first time" on a train with Momma and Papa heading from St. Louis to Central City just above Denver. Momma tells Zianno that the three of them are different then anyone else on the crowed train filled with ordinary Giza humans. Before she can explain further about being a Meq, the train derails killing everyone on board except Zianno.
Jewish trader Solomon Birnbaum nurtures the injured Z, but is stunned by how fast the preteen heals. Solomon believes that Z might be a member of a legendary ancient race that he thought was mythical. He returns Z to St. Louis where the lad meets other Meqs and learns how his people stop aging at twelve until they find their Ameq love buddy.
The Meq repeat their twelfth birthday yet remain child-like in spite of experiences; this makes individual Meqs hard to delineate one from another. The story line is told from the first person account of Z.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner