cover image The Rowan

The Rowan

Anne McCaffrey. Putnam Publishing Group, $19.95 (335pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13570-5

McCaffrey leaves behind the Dragonriders of Pern to write this charming tale of a powerful psi on whom depends the commerce of human-settled space. Through the Nine-Star League, people and goods are instantaneously transported by the telepaths and telekinetics of Federal Telepath & Transport. Orphaned as a baby and discovered to be a potential Prime, most powerful of the psis, the Rowan is raised by psychologists, trained by them and put in charge of the FT&T Tower on Callisto where she lives a lonely life, psychologically impeded, as are other Primes, from moving around the human universe. Then she touches minds with an unknown Prime from recently colonized Deneb VIII who seeks help opposing an invasion of extraterrestrials. The Rowan can't help him because of her phobia, but the new Prime, who doesn't share her disability, teaches her how to transport herself. The two team up to fight the aliens and grow to love each other. In this sensitive portrayal (expanded from the author's first published story, ``Lady in the Tower,'' which appeared in 1959 in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction ), McCaffrey draws a warm and vivid picture of a struggling frontier society. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; Science Fiction Book Club main selection. (Aug.)