Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ★★★★★
Aldiss Harrison’s exploration voyage back to Earth became a mission of survival even before it began. With no hope of returning back to the planet he calls home, will Aldiss and his crew survive the planet their ancestors left over 500 years ago?
The people of Antana had abandoned Earth over 500 years ago. The ravages of mankind on its home planet had taken their toll. They have settled on Antara building a new society. Aldiss Harrison is scheduled on a mission to explore what has happened to earth since their departure. Aldiss hopes he is more successful than his grandfather, who disappeared without a word on a similar mission.
However, their mission of exploration quickly becomes one of survival as a massive solar flare takes aim at Antara. The crew of six becomes a crew of four as two of the crewmembers had not arrived in time to launch. Left behind was Aldiss’ ex Lorin the team archaeologist. As the team crash-lands into Earth, they realize that their team might be even smaller as one is having trouble coming out of stasis.
Hari is a member of the Blackthorn clan of wolves. These wolves have two forms. Their winter form is that of wolves. Their summer form resembles the two-legged creatures of yore. Hari is one of the few members of his clan to shift between forms at will. When Hari sees a streak of light across the sky followed by a loud noise, he sets out to investigate. When he arrives, he sees an object obviously made by the two legs and a pair of eyes coming from it. Hari alerts the pack. Most back off but one, Neru, goes off alone. Hari’s mother sends him to keep track of the troublemaker. When Hari stops the attack on the two leg (Aldiss), Hari finds that he has found his errah, his chosen mate. Aldiss and Hari must fight dissention among the clan of wolves and make sure the remaining crew members adapt to their new home world in order for them to enjoy their new relationship.
This book clicks on just about every level. The heartbreak Aldiss feels at the loss of not only his home planet but his ex (even though he states there is nothing romantic between them anymore) is palpable. The hope of a new home world is quickly set back first by the crash landing and the dangers that caused but also with the troubles of Cat’s illness coming out of stasis. Add in the inter clan squabbles about what to do with their now returned ancestors and it spells trouble. Hari is guided not only by his mother but the keh, the spirits of his ancestors. The two “Law & Order” type twists near the end of the book complete the upheaval. But the feeling of hope at the end of the book makes the ride worth taking. This author is new to me and I look forward to reading more from him.
London Burden has come up with one of the most gorgeous covers I have seen this year. It is drawing of a winter scape, with Hari in his white wolf form, standing on a hill overlooking the crash site that Aldiss’ ship landed. This cover should make the list of top ten for the year.
Ebook, 71 pages
Published: July 29, 2015 by Less Than Three Press