C. F. Bentley, Author
C. F. Bentley, Author . DAW $24.95 (387p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0485-7
Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008

Cultures clash and romance blooms in this tepid series opener set on Harmony, a cult-governed planet. The highest ranks of the Harmonic Empire have rewritten history to hide its origins and maintain the harsh caste-based social order that supports the rich and powerful while keeping the underclasses trapped in slavery. Harmony is also the only source of “Badger Metal,” used to shield spaceships from the vagaries of radiation and hyperspace. The Confederated Star Systems desperately need the material for warships, and they send CSS Maj. Jake Hannigan undercover to Harmony to obtain the secret of making Badger Metal. His task is complicated by the social and political shakeup when Sissy, a pious young Worker caste woman, reveals a gift for prophecy and an amazing ability to quell earthquakes and storms by emotionally bonding with the planet itself. Historian Bentley's blend of mysticism, space opera and social commentary is too scattered and self-conscious to rise above its familiar themes. (Aug.)

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