Tuesday, July 29, 2014
The Children of Anthi
Blaise Omari (BLZ-80-4163) is a member of the crew of the scoutship Forerunner. Omari is not his real name and he realizes he is facing imminent arrest by the authorities. So he hijacks the scoutship and takes it into the Uncharted Zone where it cannot be tracked.
The ship crash lands on the planet Ruantl and all aboard die except Blaise and fellow crew Saunders, a woman.
Blaise and Saunders are soon captives of a rough group of natives, the Bhan'jen. This group of Bhan'jen are controlled by Picyt, a Tlar. Tlar look very different from the Bhan'jen. Tlar are tall and attractive, Bhar'jen are smaller and hideous. Picyt is a kind of high priest and servant of Anthi, a sort of deity who turns out to be just a very powerful computer. Picyt is currently in a power struggle with the ruler of Ruantl, Hihuan. Picty sees in the arrival of Saunders and Blaise two technically proficient workers who can help the Tlar with their failing machinery.
Blaise is soon kidnapped by Hihuan's people and shot and dumped in the desert to die. Ruantl is a very hostile place, arid and subject to extreme storms and bathed in X-rays from its black sun. The locals all wear heavy cloaks and masks to protect themselves. Blaise has no chance to survive such conditions plus having been shot in the leg. Fortunately he is rescued by a tribe of Bhan and they return him to Picyt.
Blaise is pretty much done for when Picyt offers him a chance to survive. Asan, an ancient Tlar and the first ruler of Ruantl, sleeps in a high tech coffin. Picyt needs to raise Asan but to do so he needs a volunteer to provide the catalyst, infusing their vitality into the sleeper. Picty promises Blaise that Blaise will have a strong new body but what he really expects is that Blaise will die. However, Blaise survives the transfer and defeats the personality of Asan and takes control of Asan's body.
Hihuan is aware of what Picty has done. He sends his warriors to fight Picty's and Blaise and Saunders are caught in the middle. Blaise doesn't support Picty and he certainly doesn't support Hihuan who had him shot and dumped in the desert. Stranded on a poison planet, with no hope of rescue, caught in a terrible power struggle between three factions, Blaise and Saunders have to make the best of their bad situation. All Blaise wants is to survive. All Saunders wants is Blaise's head on a silver platter.
This was an OK story. I had a hard time keeping track of who had Blaise and what they wanted from him. I also had trouble keeping track of the various factions in the story. To me, the story was rather chaotic and Blaise is pretty much just a pawn for a lot of the story, stumbling from one disaster to another. Poor Saunders is more sinned against than sinning and doesn't deserve her ultimate fate. However, I did like reading about the Bhan and the Tlar, even though they seemed a little too human.
For another review see: http://sfmistressworks.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/the-children-of-anthi-jay-d-blakeney/.