Eos, Oct 2002, 6.99, 416 pp.
Imagine a world without computers, cars, airplanes or manufacturing. This is not a place in Earth's past but in its future. Four centuries ago, civilization collapsed forcing the League of Peoples to send in the Spark lords, a policing agency of the League to make sure the planet is salvageable. People use horses and sails as the main means of transportation and for light, kerosene lamps are used.
When the Spark Lords arrived, they used genetic engineering to make one person in every thousand psionic. Phil Abu Dhubhai, a teacher at Feliss University learns from his psychic friend that he and four others are going on a quest. An alien who can assume any disguise has made off with Sebastian the most powerful psionic student the world has ever known. Phil and company must stop the evil alien from letting loose an evil entity upon the earth with Sebastian's mind fogged up.
TRAPPED is a witty, cutting-edge science fiction adventure novel satirizing “Arthurian” novels. This novel could have easily have taken place in the middle ages as in the year 2457. The high tech touches that are interspersed through the story line are used to remind readers that earth has reverted to pre-industrial revolution times although the inhabitants know what they have lost and don't seem to miss it. James Alan Gardner is a talent who comes along very rarely. This reviewer is going to find and read his backlist.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner