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Best Books of the Year So Far
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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.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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.
"A rich weaving of science, politics, and mysticism. A believable memorable story." -- Brian Herbert, co-author of Dune: House Harkonnen
"More that Kay Kenyon is a major talent." -- Mike Resnick
Kay Kenyon is best known for her world building. Her science fiction and fantasy novels all develop out of a Place, a memorable and alluring geography, habitat, or magical kingdom. She then discovers who lives there, and why. And so the stories begin.
Her most recent novel is the fantasy Queen of the Deep, about an aspiring actress who opens a door onto a strange Renaissance kingdom. Her previous fantasy was A Thousand Perfect Things.
Kay has been a finalist for the Philip K. Dick and the John W. Campbell Memorial Awards, and twice for the ALA Reading List awards. Her science fiction includes the acclaimed series "The Entire and The Rose." Some of her early science fiction, such as Maximum Ice, has now been reissued in eBook, with what the author thinks are some of her best covers ever. Five of her short stories, including The Last Wave and The Book of Faces, are available as separate e-releases here on Amazon.
Kay lives with her husband in Wenatchee Washington, and is a founding member of Write on the River, dedicated to helping aspiring writers improve their craft and navigate the writing life. Find out her latest news on her blog and website: http://www.kaykenyon.com, follow her on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KayKenyon, connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook/kay.kenyon, or sign up for her newsletter on her website.
Kay Kenyon has written her best story so far. This one has none of the cheesy flavor of Raft (not to say it was bad, just a standard space opera, even if saved by its aliens) nor anti-science of Seeds of Time (which is excellent if you accept unrealistic time travel speculations). But it's not just plausibility of the plot that makes Tropic of Creation great. Kay Kenyon is an author who always fully develops characters of living depth, be that humans or aliens, without sacrificing the larger view of the story's world. Both of these aspects are shining brilliantly in this book.
The story is set during an armistice between the human and alien races. The humans have been beat by the older and more technologically advanced aliens and had to back off a strategic resource, surrendering all the trading rights. A transport ship is sent to rescue the survivors of a battleship marooned for three years on a desert world due to the system failures. During the investigation of the battleship's condition a number of alien machines are discovered, which eventually leads to the new contact, understanding and collaboration between the two races.
The elaborate beginning that sets up the world of the story may seem a bit slow to an impatient reader, but once the stage is set it explodes. At times the book resembles a horror story, one of the best I've read at that. But it's not gore for the sake of itself, everything is tied to the main plot and builds it from the solid foundation up. But not to a single climax, for the story is so complex and multipathed, as well as fast paced, that the excitement stays high throughout and the climaxes are many.Read more ›
I am obliged to give one of my very rare 5-star reviews to Kay Kenyon for a deep, complex, exciting and most satisfying novel. In this tale, failing starship Captain Eli Dammond finds himself on the desert planet Null where his responsibility is to investigate to wreck of another ship and to transport its crew to safety. Although everybody is anxious to get the job done and to leave the inhospitable world, Eli feels that it is imperative for him to spend his last moments there making a quick exploration below the surface of Null in one of the many alien hexadron boring machines found on the surface. Thus begins a wonderfully told and realized adventure of Eli's meeting with the ancient subterranean race of Ahtra. The story is so masterfully told that we can clearly visualize and comprehend the complex alien culture, and understand their motivations in dealing with the problematic stranger in their midst. While the story underground is evolving, life on the surface of Null is changing rapidly and catastrophically for the remaining humans. The planet has its own bioligical imperitives at work, and human life is not a high priority. In spite of the dark events that drive this story or, perhaps, because of them, the resolution of this gripping tale is uplifting and hopeful. A fitting conclusion to a wonderful adventure. I highly recommend Tropic Of Creation, and I anxiously await the next fine work by Kay Kenyon.
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As a long time sci-fi reader, most plots and situations these days are not too hard to figure out. That is until I read this book. Ms. Kenyon has quite a knack for setting up scenarios that keep you turning the pages and trying to anticipate what will happen next. I was easily able to identify with each character and even picture the surroundings and landscape as the story unfolded. There were still many times that I said to myself, "Wow, that's not what I expected but it sure makes sense". This was the first book that I have read by Kay Kenyon but definitely not the last. I have since purchased all of her other books and thoroughly enjoyed each one. This is a unique, fresh author I really enjoy. Keep 'em coming Kay!!!
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I got this book based on the excellent reviews. I've read Kenyon's `The Seeds of Time' and found it fairly entertaining. I was very disappointed with this book. The character development was adequate. The book description makes it sound very exciting and profound. It was none of these although it could have been. The major revelation is glossed over and a reader can almost miss it. The plot deals mainly with the aliens' political intrigues that are almost too human. Why they do what they do seems to make no sense. The girl is secondary to the story and certainly no warrior as the book description portrays. She manages to stay alive on a world where everything seems to eat everything else. Harry Harrison's `Deathworld' comes to mind. The overall problem seems to be that events in the book unfold without any background. It's almost as if the reader is expected to know what happened to cause the events lending up to the climax. There are several stories and plotlines occurring in this book that really need several books to cover adequately. It's almost as if this book is a synopsis of a whole series. As a result this is a book with huge possibilities that falls flat due to lack of content.
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