Sunday, January 09, 2011
By Allen Steele
At the time of the story, a livable moon has been discovered orbiting a gas giant planet in a star system about 46 light years away. This moon, named Coyote, is bigger than Mars but not a big as Earth. The United States no longer exist as a political entity, instead a right-wing cabal has taken over the government, calling itself the Liberty Party, it is instead a force for oppression and has pretty much destroyed the Constitution under the guise of security concerns. As a boost to the party and also to insure the survival of their regime, the powers that be have come up with a grand scheme to build a ship to carry about 100 loyal colonists to Coyote.
DI's or Dissident Intellectuals have been targeted by the government for removal to a reeducation camp that is really a death camp. So they have hatched a plot to take over the space ship, the Alabama and smuggle 50 DI's on board. The ship's captain and several key crew members are part of the plot and together they are able to take control of the ship and leave the government back on Earth looking stupid.
Since the voyage will take more than 200 years, everyone on board is put into biostasis, a kind of hibernation, only to be awakened when they reach their destination.
Coyote, when they finally arrive, turns out to be a beautiful place, with a temperate climate and rich soils and plenty of water. The colonists arrive a little late in the year for growing much in the way of food, so the first year is pretty lean. Plus the local fauna are proving to be not just pestiferous but also deadly. But the colonists work hard and manage to make a home for themselves despite the tensions caused by two opposing factions forced to cooperative to survive, the rebels versus the loyalists.
First book in the Coyote series, this was a good read. The story is told through the experiences of several key characters including the Captain, Robert E. Lee, and a couple of teens, Wendy and Carlos, Wendy the daughter of a loyalist who was part of a plot to blow up the ship and Carlos, son of one of the DI's who took over the ship. It's a story about survival and of exploring a new land, of people making a home for themselves in a strange new place and learning to get along despite their differences. I enjoyed it a lot.