The Prodigal Sun: Evergence
by Sean Williams & Shane Dix
A book review by Mark L. Olson
Ace, 1999, 393 pp, $6.99.
This is pure escapism - schlock SF at its best!
The scene is a lovely, complicated one: a galaxy that has been settled for so long that no one remembers - or cares, much - where Mankind originated. A Galaxy where humans like us are in a large majority, but where numerous human-derived races (most 'improved' through genetic tinkering) exist as well as the occasional, enigmatic AI or transcended human society. In other words, a galaxy where anything can happen and any kind of adventure can take place.
A woman is sent on an assignment to pick up an AI newly built for her masters in an empire's intelligence service. On the way home her ship is attacked by forces of a neighboring empire with which they're not quite at war. She escapes to a nearby prison planet with the AI (which is starting to show a knack for manipulating people and things around it), an enigmatic, amnesiac prisoner who seems to be a very good fighter, a young girl who is a telepath and a semi-human diplomat she is accompanying. (Note the cliches piling up?)
Upon landing, they meet up with local freedom fighters, have many adventures, escape the prison planet and confront the intelligence service she served. And along the way, just happen to acquire a ship with a built-in cyborg captain, so they're free to chase off after whatever interests them. So she and her gang go off on a series of adventures which will last as long as anyone is willing to buy them. There's no way to write about a book like this seriously. The Prodigal Sun: Evergence, which was a lot of fun to read, is pure, unadulterated escapist adventure set in a nicely sciffy world.
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