Tor, Apr 2003, 27/95, 432 pp.
Over the last several centuries, Mexica becomes the earth's superpower and begins traveling into outer space. In orbit around the lifeless planet Ephesus III, a ship has become silent leaving a scientific team marooned on the planet's surface. The Mexica Imperial Navy orders archaeologist Gretchen Anderssen to help rescue the scientists and return with the ancient artifact that the explorer Russovsky found on the planet.
The cruiser Cornuelle reaches its destination Ephesus III only to learn that an artifact found on the planetary surface was sent to the ship, but carelessly handled leading to the release of a toxic agent that consumed all organic material on board. Gretchen finds another million years old object, apparently left by the First Sun species. Crew member Imperial Judge Green Hummingbird refuses to allow any of the First Sun technology to accompany them back. When the science team boards the ship, Russovsky is a mineral clone of herself. When Hummingbird goes planet side to erase human traces, Gretchen follows him to learn why the phobia exists about the First Sun civilization.
WASTELAND OF FLINT is an exciting futuristic, mostly outer space, tale that displays Thomas Harlan's skills in world building. The story line goes at warp speed from the moment the Navy drafts Gretchen even with twists and turns but especially when the Cornuelle reaches Ephesus III. The prime players seem authentic and full dimensional, even the crystallized Russovsky so that fans of earthlings visiting other worlds will appreciate this powerful science fiction with a mystery to augment the reading pleasure.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner