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Coyote Destiny (Coyote Chronicles) Mass Market Paperback – February 22, 2011
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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About the Author
Allen Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and received his B.A. in Communications from New England College and a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. Before turning to science fiction, he worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts, as well as Washington, D.C. His previous novels include Orbital Decay; Lunar Descent; Clarke County, Space; Labyrinth of Night; Jericho Iteration; The Tranquility Alternative; Oceanspace, and Chronospace (all available from Ace). He is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award in the novella category. He lives with his wife, Linda, in Whately, Massachusetts.
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Almost two decades (Earth years, not Coyote years) have elapsed since the end of Coyote Horizon. Coyote has been out of contact with Earth for all that time. Before that, refugees from an Earth that was suffering political and environmental collapse were flooding into Coyote.
Coyote, in the meantime, has prospered, and resumed trade with the alien worlds revealed in previous books. There are now only a few people alive who came on the first starship. Gleaming cities built with the help of alien technology are arising from the villages of the early settlers.
A prelude takes up where Coyote Horizon left off. An explosion aboard the Coyote Confederation starship Robert E. Lee destroys the ship and the stargate that it is in the act of passing through. But a lifeboat carrying Hawk Thompson, who is the human spiritual leader of a philosophy embraced by most of the alien worlds. Hawk received a gift from an alien emissary of these teachings, the Sa'Tong-tas and was transformed spiritually. Further mental transformation came later, which gave him extraordinary powers, but those powers are not part of the Sa'Tong-tas. Hawk was going to Earth to help Coyote's former president deal with the refugee problem.
The main story opens with the two members of an expedition to Coyote's northern extremes being recalled to the capital. It seems that a stolen starship has finally come from Earth, revealing that Hawk Thompson has been instrumental in recalling to earth people from the colonies in the solar system. The pilot of the starship is the same person who picked up Thompson from the lifeboat earlier. He is vehement in his accusations against Thompson.
Because of Thompson's importance to Coyote, an expedition to Earth is set up. But first permission from the confederation of aliens who ultimately control passage through the star gates is needed. They had closed off Earth because they felt people there were too violent.
Then they have to get to Earth and find Thompson. Oh, and their guide is hostile to the idea.
And on Coyote, the hunt is belatedly on for the maker of the bomb that destroyed the Robert E. Lee.
While other readers should decide for themselves as to whether this book follows up on Coyote Horizon, I think that it does. It is not what I expected to read, but that did not matter in the end. The previous book introduced the philosophy of the Sa'Tong-tas, and this book shows what could happen with the passage of time.
All in all a good read. For those who thought that Coyote Horizon spent too much time on the philosophy, there is a lot more action in this book. I think there will be some people who will feel that the later events are a little rushed, but it seems to me that the pace is appropriate.
And so, Coyote Destiny takes the readers on two separate journeys. The first sends Jorge Montero II (Carlos' grandson) to Earth to find the chaaz'maha and bring him home. The other sends Sawyer Lee (the former wilderness guide) on a hunt around Coyote's globe to capture the man that was responsible for building the bomb that killed Carlos Montero and many others and sending the chaaz'maha into an unplanned exile.
Coyote Destiny was a decent enough tale that was clearly meant to tie up many of the character threads that were initiated in novels as far back as the original Coyote tale. Coyote Destiny is a natural extension of the stories started in that novel. The original colonists from the URSS Alabama, the ones that originally set foot on and explored Coyote, are either quite old or have already passed-on. Now Coyote's destiny is in the hands of their children and grandchildren.
As a novel, Coyote Destiny exhibits many of the same flaws and virtues as its predecessors. This novel is no exception in feeling like a series of short stories sewn together by a tailor that, while generally adept, still can't quite sew in a straight line all the time and occasionally misses a stitch. However, I so thoroughly enjoy exploring the many facets of the people and culture that have developed on Coyote since the colony's founding that a slipped stitch here and there is inconsequential. I genuinely like and identify with many of the characters in this series...and those in Coyote Destiny are no exception. With that said, this tale should only be undertaken once the previously novels in the series have been read. Within the context of the many Coyote books, this novel is certainly recommended.