cover image Tropic of Creation

Tropic of Creation

Kay Kenyon. Spectra Books, $5.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-553-58026-6

In this subtle though engrossing novel by the author of The Seeds of Time, a seemingly deserted planet morphs into a jungle filled with predators and secrets. During an uneasy peace following a long war against the only other known sentient race, the ahtra, Captain Eli Dammond diverts his ship from its primary missionDto transport a general's familyDin response to an SOS from a barren planet. Upon landing, Dammond finds the captain and crew of a stranded military craft that has been missing for three years, and Dammond must investigate the crash to determine if the captain and her crew were deserters. Having found an empty burrowing craft, Dammond explores below the surface. There he is captured and drawn deeper into the previously unknown subterranean homeworld of the ahtra, while above ground the stage is set for a new attack by the ahtra forces on the small band of unsuspecting humans. The author deftly interweaves the viewpoints of Drammond and two ahtra ill at ease in their repressive society with that of 14-year-old Sascha, coming of age on the planet's surface as the heavily outmatched humans battle for survival. Kenyon's vision of a unique universe ranks with those of such science-fiction greats as Frank Herbert and Orson Scott Card. Kenyon should prepare herself: readers will anxiously anticipate a sequel. (Nov.)