cover image SCHISM: Part One of Triad

SCHISM: Part One of Triad

Catherine Asaro, . . Tor, $25.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0951-8

Tensions escalate between the Skolians and their enemies, the Aristo Traders, in Nebula-winner Asaro's dizzying yet accessible SF soap opera, the 10th installment in her Skolian Empire saga and the first in a sequence exploring the childhoods of some of the earlier books' major players. Young Soz secretly applies to become a Jagernaut, a member of the Skolian elite fighting force, against the wishes of her father, Eldrinson. Soz's high scores and powerful psychic abilities guarantee her entry, but when her brother Althor comes to collect her, Eldrinson disowns them both. Soz's brother Shannon runs away, and when Eldrinson sets after him, Eldrinson is kidnapped and tortured by nasty Aristo Trader Vitarex, an event that presages war. Meanwhile, Soz, brilliant and difficult, excels at school, driven by her hatred of the Aristos and what they did to her father. There are plenty of exciting firefights, but the novel's focus on emotional connections, forgiveness, love and growing up will appeal more to a female than a male sensibility. YA readers will identify with the mostly teenage protagonists. Agent, Eleanor Woods at Spectrum Literary Agency. (Jan. 3)