When the Catteni conquerers of Earth discover a potentially habitable new planet, a group of human slaves, accompanied by an exiled Catteni lord, become involuntary colonists forced to live or die by their own resources. McCaffrey's latest novel inaugurates a new series set in a universe where humans are pawns in a war between galactic powers. With her customary talent for imaginative storytelling, the author skillfully portrays the environmental and personal challenges faced by the new colonists. Most libraries should consider this a priority purchase.
YA‘McCaffrey begins a new chronicle of human resilience and survival. Earth has been invaded by the Catteni, a race of soldiers who have come to quell opposition and to relocate troublesome cases (both human and alien) to inhospitable worlds. Kristen Bjornsen, a human, and a ragtag group must learn to communicate and begin to build a new life. Further, they must discover what is behind a completely different civilization that is using their planet (nicknamed Botany) as a farm for animal and vegetable produce. Underlying this cooperation is the resentment that some of the colonists feel for Zanial, a member of the race of slavers, and the romantic feelings that Zanial and Kristen begin to feel for one another. With two possible antagonistic alien cultures and their own internal problems, there can only be more interesting scenarios for the settlers of Botany. The characters are especially well developed: teens will be able to identify with their spirit, creativeness, and tenacity to survive despite all odds. A delightful novel for more than just McCaffrey's ``old'' fans.‘Brian Martin, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
With a tale of human and other slaves abandoned by harsh masters on an ostensibly deserted planet, McCaffrey begins another highly readable series about successful survival in difficult circumstances. Kristin Bjornsen, an escaped human slave on the planet Barevi, saves one of the Catteni masters, Zainal, from being killed in a blood feud. When she tries to return him to the capital city, she is caught in a roundup of troublemakers designated for colonization duty. Among those dropped with few supplies on the unexplored new planet, later named Freedom, is Zainal, who turns out to be an aristocrat of his species. After Zainal is again saved from death, this time at the hands of vengeful former slaves, he casts his lot with the castaways, who have turned to former Marine sergeant Chuck Mitford for leadership. In sturdy Robinson Crusoe fashion, the survivors overcome the odds against them, rescue other castaways and find signs of a mysterious civilization that is using Freedom as a giant mechanized farm. They also deal with the few bad apples in their midst. Meanwhile love blossoms between Zainal and Kristin, to the displeasure of some of the other humans. McCaffrey has created another set of winning protagonists and a carefully detailed, exotic background on which to develop a new series. (May)