George R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle
Bantam, Jun 2001, 23.95, 352 pp.
The planet WINDHAVEN has no large land continents. Instead it consists of a series of islands with some grouped in clusters. When the colonists landed there, they built homes on the more habitable isles and soon a low-level technology formed that adapted to the geography. Flyers also appeared as the settlers compensated for the planet's environment by allowing some individuals to have silver tip wings to fly from island to island with messages.
Over time the landsmen came to revere the flyer as the wings pass from parent to oldest child in a primogeniture manner. This system apparently works well and is accepted by all until a flyer adopts a girl, Maris. When he could no longer use his silver tip wings, he gives them to his beloved Maris. However, when her stepfather sires a son with her adopted mother, Maris is supposed to return the wings, but she refuses. Instead she demands a flyer council convene so that she can make her case to keep her wings and in doing so changes the social structure of her world.
WINDHAVEN was first published two decades ago, but like any well-written novel, it passes the test of time and remains fresh as if it is a brand new book. The Anne McCaffrey crowd will find the tale reminiscent of the Pern books. The planet seems real and the technology evolves as form adapts to the reality of the world. Science fiction and fantasy readers will want to soar with the flyers through this enjoyable tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner