cover image Throy: Cadwal #03

Throy: Cadwal #03

Jack Vance. Tor Books, $18.95 (255pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85133-0

Continuing his tales of Cadwal, governed for generations by the Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving the planet's natural beauty, Vance posits a scenario in which the Conservancy is now rent by factional conflict between the radical Life, Peace and Freedom Party and the conservative Chartists. LPFers ostensibly champion the cause of the Yips, happy-go-lucky descendants of runaway servants, illegal immigrants and petty criminals who are restricted to a region called Lutwen Atoll except when serving as cheap labor at Araminta Station, which is the administrative center and home to the Chartists, who uphold the original plan to restrict the spread of humanity across Cadwal. When a new, stricter Charter arrives, the inhabitants of Stroma, the only other settlement on the planet and the LPF center, are ordered to move to Araminta Station. Sinister undercurrents presage a full-scale conspiracy involving the Yips and longtime enemies of Cadwal. The popular Vance ( Ecce and Old Earth ) pens an often lively tale with some colorful moments and acerbic observations on politics and mores, although his mannered language and strained descriptions may put off the discriminating reader. (May)