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Loved it! 😍

Shipwrecked colonists end up on Baktun, home to an apparently friendly race of evolved humans. But what is their terrible secret?

When Liberation, a starship carrying 9000 passengers hoping to colonise a new planet, is almost destroyed by a supernova, close to a thousand of the colonists die and many on board suffer from radiation sickness. The main character, Draedon Ecko, one of the few crew members to survive, must take over as Commander and as the ship’s intelligent navigation system is so damaged   (not even Murvan, an almost human robot, can restore it) they head for the closest planet, Baktun. It is in a binary star system with an extremely elongated orbit  encircling  two suns, one a red dwarf, the other a massive star 10 times the size of the small one, a fact which proves to have huge significance later in the tale. Baktun turns out to be a race of evolved humans called Soverins, who are  very similar to Draedon and his companions but are smaller in size and  have five eyes with 3 extra in the forehead. Draedon imagines that they see a different image of the electromagnetic spectrum like bees who have five eyes.  They seem friendly, however, and Draedon and his companions discover they can communicate with them by means of otopods a form of hearing aid similar in function to the Babel fish of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The Soverins build shelters for those of the Starship who are brought down to the planet and also supply them with food. They are looked after by Professor Tadat, who seems to be a kindly and cultivated man, but he is not the Soverin’s leader and they eventually discover that the planet is controlled by Rychee, an Artificial Intelligence who has many human attributes and who lives in the mountains in a specially designed bubble.   And there is a terrible secret that the Soverins  are reluctant to reveal, referred to as the Burn.

The tale combines philosophical considerations of personal ethics and correct government with thrilling and exciting action sequences.   The descriptions of the planet’s flora and fauna are fascinating, the various characters are strongly drawn, the colonists’ and Soverin’s reactions are plausible, and the colonists’ ultimate fate in doubt until the very end.  


All in all, a gripping and worthwhile read.

Reviewed by

Jenny Hill (Jaye Sarasin) Took early retirement from teaching to write YA (The Green Enclave) and commercial fiction Published Using Literature in Language Teaching (Macmillan 1986) Jennifer Hill The Green Enclave (Parfoys Press 2017) Passionate reader, gardener, traveller

About the author

The author was born in Germany and studied biology and computer programming in the U.S. He worked at various occupations: commercial diving, programming, database administration, and analytics. He is an avid chess player, plays tennis, and likes to go hiking. He is married and lives in Arizona. view profile

Published on May 02, 2022

Published by Authorhouse

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by