Table of Contents
Raves for Julie E. Czerneda’s
“There are some truly memorable characters, their stories coming together in a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to this biological SF trilogy.”—
“A fine conclusion to a science fiction series that has a refreshing emphasis on biology rather than technology.”
“Julie E. Czerneda is one of the best world builders writing today, creating species so intricately drawn readers find themselves believing they really exist.”
The Midwest Book Review
“Czerneda always tells a good story.”—
“Czerneda’s characterizations, both human and alien, are as intricate and entertaining as the twisty plot. Fans of SF adventure and intrigue—and of C. J. Cherryh’s masterfully drawn alien cultures in particular—are in for a treat.”
“Fascinating characters, including some delightfully wacky aliens, mixed with thrilling action make this an exciting read.”—
“A rare blend of hard science fiction and exceptional characterization. Biologist author Julie Czerneda creates unusually believable aliens . . . building entire races and moving scenarios.”—
“Fascinating . . . intriguing new series.”—
JULIE E. CZERNEDA
available from DAW Books:
IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS
HIDDEN IN SIGHT
Trade Pact Universe
A THOUSAND WORDS FOR STRANGER
TIES OF POWER
TO TRADE THE STARS
REAP THE WILD WIND*
*Coming soon in hardcover from DAW Books
Copyright © 2005 by Julie E. Czerneda.
All rights reserved.
DAW Books Collectors No. 1362.
DAW Books are distributed by the Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious.
All resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
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First Paperback Printing, March 2007
DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED
U.S. PAT. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES
HECHO EN U.S.A.
eISBN : 978-1-101-04225-0
For Roger . . .
Wrapping up a story three books long took some help, and I’m grateful to all those who contributed to the effort. First, I must thank the folks at DAW Books, starting with my editor, Sheila Gilbert, who managed to calmly offer constructive comment regardless of venue or timeline, and those in production, who’ve borne the brunt of that timeline. I hope I never impose on you again this badly. I don’t dare promise! You were great. Luis Royo came up with another fantastic cover, true to everything I’d imagined. I’m spoiled, I admit it.
Sam Schrant, Sebastian Jones, Doug Court, Kevin Maclean, and Michael Gillis are real people who dared lend their names to this book. Gentlemen, I hope you enjoy the result. Feel free to claim the good bits; anything else I made up. Kevin also acted as my local New Zealand resource, while Lance Lones kindly provided his “stranger in a new land” perspective. I’d also like to thank Ivars Peterson of
for his willing patience while I finished this book.
While writing this, I was privileged to travel extensively and would like to thank some of my hosts: Stan Gardner, Ron Vick, and their Willycon committee; the concom for Eeriecon, Duckon, Toronto Trek, and Cascadiacon; while in the breathtaking Yukon: Joyce Sward and the incredibly talented students of the Writers Festival, Lori Schroeder and Claire Eamer of the Yukon Science Institute (Whitehorse), Sebastian Jones, Dan Davidson, and students/staff of Robert Service School (Dawson City); Christine Royce and the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association. Yes, there’s more, but I can’t thank everyone I should without doubling this book. Please know I’m beyond grateful for your kindness and interest.
Jana Paniccia, Jihane Billacois, Janet Chase, and Jennifer Czerneda read this book in manuscript for me and offered comment and encouragement. Doranna Durgin checked my puppies. Those who urged me on through posts and e-mails? Thank you, too. Always helpful. And this book marks the first time, but I trust not the last, that I’ll wave happily to the “Biogeeks,” avowed fans of Mac and the biology in my books.
Last, but never least, my family. You put up with more than the usual angst from me on this one, and I appreciated your support every minute. Thank you, Jennifer, for your help with the last chapters and the ending. Poppa? Hope you’ll like it. I know it’s a little big, but—stuff happens.