cover image The Tower and the Hive

The Tower and the Hive

Anne McCaffrey. Putnam Publishing Group, $23.95 (302pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14501-8

Heres a happy ending to McCaffreys futuristic Rowan (aka the Talent) series (Lyons Pride, etc.), as Humans, their allies, the Mrdini, and the insectoid Hivers, who menace both, find ways to coexist. The main heroes are the Talented members of Federation Teleport and Telepath, dominated by the family that began the organization, but increasingly including different blood lines. McCaffrey provides an introduction, What Has Gone On Before, but its nearly as confusing as it is helpful. Fortunately, the narrative offers bountiful explanations of salient events and relationships, so all becomes clear as the story progresses. Few surprises are on hand, but the relationships among the parapsychically gifted Humans at FT&T are particularly well drawn, including the romantic subplots. Indeed, procreation is key, as readers follow the family dynasty of FT&T, the search for a solution to Mrdini overpopulation and the link between the Hivers queens and their spread to new worlds. The novel lacks the profound imagination of alien minds thats a hallmark of much recent SF, but it also avoids the kill-the-bugs outlook of such SF as Starship Troopers. Readers looking for intelligent, heroic adventure will find it here, and Rowan fans will be especially pleased at this felicitous closing of a popular SF series. (May)