by Robert Charles Wilson
Tor, 1999, ISBN 0-312-86857-X
A book review by Elisabeth Carey
About a century from now, Earth society is extremely caste-ridden, divided into t he Families, their upper-level and middle-level servants (the upper-level servant males are castrated), and everyone else. Humans are attempting to study the one nearby Earth-like world that they've found, Isis, but this is exceptionally dangerous because the life on Isis is unbelievably toxic to human beings--a permanent, planet-wide, Level Four hot zone.
Zoe Fisher has been genetically engineered to explore Isis. She's the product of one faction within the political infighting of the ruling Families. This does not have a happy ending, and some of the details are inexcusably silly, but it's an interesting read if you don't set your expectations too high. Zoe's story does not have a happy ending, but the book arguably does.