Open Road Integrated Media
Publication date: 13th October 2015
In the far future, on top of a gigantic tree rooted in the ice ball of a comet, a young man’s journey leads to unexpected encounters
In this brand-new cosmic adventure by the author of The Genesis Quest and The Jupiter Theft, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris’s daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food. When it comes time to make his vision quest to the top of the Tree, Torris is completely unprepared for what he finds: first, a thieving and hostile fellow quester; then, Ning, a female hunter from a neighboring tree-bearing comet, who has catapulted across empty space in search of food to save her family; and ultimately, alien visitors in a massive starship that has spent billions of years crossing the galaxy.
Shocked at the cultural differences between his home and Ning’s and stunned by the changes precipitated by the arrival of the spaceship, Torris must learn quickly, adapt even faster, and face an uncertain and rapidly changing future unlike anything he has ever imagined.
Once I understood the structure of this novel I really enjoyed the plot twists and turns, and the characters, although I found most of them to be only sketchily written and some were token villains.
My favourite character was the dolphin, Jonah, who was funny and intelligent, making plans for fish trading between Mars and the comets, just as soon as the oceans were up to scratch. I liked the sentient trees as well, slowly making their way towards the dying Sun.
I found the meeting of comet society and space ship society quite interesting; it reminded me of the meetings between European and indigenous communities in the early modern period, and the paternalism that characterised, and still characterises, interactions between European/Western societies and the rest of the human population of Earth.
I think this book, judging by the language used, is aimed at a young adult audience, although there’s nothing in it that makes it unsuitable for younger readers, and it certainly would keep older adults entertained.