General reviews of books (old & new) that I like. I'm also an amateur writer with several stories up on Wattpad under the pseudonym R. S. Leergaard
Set in Ms. Cherryh's Gene Wars universe, Forge of Heaven is filled with political intrigue, betrayal, and, in the end, perhaps a tiny hint of hope.
The plot and theme of this story is well conceived and delivered. In a nutshell, Earth and the Inner Worlds claim to have evidence that banned First Movement nanotechnology may have escaped from the last outpost known to possess it, an unnamed world monitored and proscribed by Concord Station because the last survivors of the First Movement—humans who are essentially immortal because of the complex nanoceles that inhabit their bodies—still survive there.
That world and its attendant station are inside the alien ondat space, and the station is unique in that it is the only one that has both human and ondat observers, and their mission is to ensure that the last vestige of First Movement technology never again escapes the planet's gravity well. An Earth ship's unscheduled visit and secretive mission is the cause of the all of the ensuing intrigue and turmoil.
A huge plus for this book is that the characters are just as interestingly delivered as the storyline.
Marak trin Tain – Immortal human survivor of the Hammerfall (see first book in the series), considered by the ondat to be the only honest Man.
Procyon [nee: Jeremy Stafford] – Youngest of Marak's three taps (monitors), and stated subject of Earth's investigation.
Ardath [nee: Arden Stafford] – Procyon's sister and leader of the Stylists who inhabit the Trend.
Antonio Brazis – Head of the Planetary Office and administrator of the Outsider section of Concord Station.
Setha Reaux - Earth appointed governor of Concord Station, he manages the earther sections of it.
Kekellen – Alien ondat observer of everyone and everything.
Of all the interesting characters in this book, my favorite is the alien ondat known as Kekellen, a mysterious presence who is never physically described and is only seen once by Procyon [Jeremy Strafford], and that during a pain-fueled fugue.
Kekellen sends robotic minions into the human sections of Concord Station to collect, among other things: orange juice; table salt; live lettuce; eight canisters of liquid chlorine; and a sculpture. While (s)he/it is supposed to only be in contact with station officials, he occasionally sends queries to regular Joes; ie – a plumber on deck three and Procyon (to say hello). While there is a hot-line of official translators for such people to consult when this happens, the person is expected to answer in his/her own name or Kekellen will continue sending the inquiries that jam the system and disrupt all station business until (s)he/it gets an answer.
Forge of Heaven is an interesting, enjoyable, and, in my opinion, much more fun sequel to Hammerfall. This is not to imply that Hammerfall is bad or boring or uninteresting - it is none of those things. It is, in fact, a necessary read if you want the full history of Earth and the Inner Worlds, the Outsiders and the ondat. It's just that I like Forge of Heaven better than the first Gene Wars book. My only regret is that Forge of Heaven is the last (so far) entry in her [Ms. Cherryh's] Gene Wars universe.
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