Colonization: Down to Earth (Colonization Series #2)

( 44 )


In 1942 Hitler led the world's most savage military machine. Stalin ruled Russia while America was just beginning to show its strength in World War II. Then, in Harry Turtledove's brilliantly imagined Worldwar saga, an alien assault changed everything. Nuclear destruction engulfed major cities, and the invaders claimed half the planet before an uneasy peace could be achieved.

A spectacular tale of tyranny and freedom, destruction and hope, Colonization takes us into the ...

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Colonization: Down to Earth (Colonization Series #2)

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In 1942 Hitler led the world's most savage military machine. Stalin ruled Russia while America was just beginning to show its strength in World War II. Then, in Harry Turtledove's brilliantly imagined Worldwar saga, an alien assault changed everything. Nuclear destruction engulfed major cities, and the invaders claimed half the planet before an uneasy peace could be achieved.

A spectacular tale of tyranny and freedom, destruction and hope, Colonization takes us into the tumultuous 1960s, as the reptilian Race ponders its uneasy future. But now a new, even deadlier war threatens. Though the clamoring tribes of Earth play dangerous games of diplomacy, the ultimate power broker will be the Race itself. For the colonists have one option no human can ignore. With a vast, ancient empire already in place, the Race has the power to annihilate every living being on planet Earth . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Science Fiction Weekly
Turtledove's handling of a Greater German Reich that has survived into the '60s continues to be sensitive and realistic, and much of this novel is devoted to resolving the ugly questions raised by the Reich's existence. The shifts in the balance of power, the continued threat to all of Earth, and the effects that trickle down to the characters are all compelling.
Library Journal
The alien invasion that transformed the nature of the Second World War into a fight between humans and "Lizards" resulted in a state of uneasy d tente. Twenty years later, Lizards lay claim to parts of the earth despite a growing state of resistance to their presence. Continuing the story begun in Colonization: Second Contact (LJ 1/99), Turtledove expands on his imaginary history of the 20th century. He demonstrates his talent for crafting drama on a global scale by concentrating on the individual stories that make up the big picture. A good choice for sf collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/99.] Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Turtledove demonstrates his talent for crafting drama on a global scale by concentrating on the individual stories that make up the big picture." —-Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345430236
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Colonization Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 463,102
  • Product dimensions: 4.27 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Turtledove was born in Los Angeles in 1949. After flunking out of Caltech, he earned a Ph.D. in Byzantine history from UCLA. He has taught ancient and medieval history at UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State L.A., and has published a translation of a ninth-century Byzantine chronicle, as well as several scholarly articles. His alternate history works have included many short stories and the Civil War classic The Guns of the South, the World War I epic Great War series, and the Worldwar tetralogy that began with Worldwar: In the Balance. He is a Hugo winner, a Nebula finalist, and the winner of the Sidewise Award for best Alternate History for his novel How Few Remain.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Atvar, the fleetlord of the Race's conquest fleet, and Reffet, the fleetlord of the colonization fleet, were having a disagreement. They had agreed on very little since Reffet brought the colonization fleet to
Tosev 3. Atvar was convinced Reffet still had no real understanding of the way things worked on this miserable planet. He didn't know what
Reffet was convinced of--probably that things on Tosev 3 were in fact the way the Race had fondly imagined them to be before sending out the conquest fleet. "I do not know what you wish me to do, Reffet," he said.
They were equals; neither of them was Exalted Fleetlord to the other.
They could be, and often were, equally impolite to each other. "No matter what you may believe, I cannot work miracles." He swiveled his eye turrets this way and that to show exasperation.

Reffet swiveled his eye turrets, too, and hissed for good measure. "I do not see that it is so difficult. The ship the Big Uglies have launched is under very low acceleration. You have plenty of time to send a reconnaissance probe after it and keep it under close, secret observation."

"And you brought starships across the light-years between Home and here!" Atvar exclaimed. "You must have had good officers and good computers, for you surely were not up to the job unaided." He paced across his office, which had been a suite in Shepheard's Hotel before the Race occupied Cairo. It gave him plenty of room to pace; Tosevites were larger than males and females of the Race, and, naturally, built in proportion to their own size.

"Leave off your insults," Reffet replied with another hiss, an angry one. His tailstump switched back and forth, back and forth. "I repeat, I
do not see that what I have asked is so very difficult. As I said, that ship, that Clewis and Lark, is under acceleration of no more than a hundredth of the force of gravity."

"Lewis and Clark." Atvar took no small relish in correcting his colleague and rival over even minute details that shouldn't have mattered to anyone save a Big Ugly. "That it is under tiny acceleration does not matter. That it is under continuous acceleration does. If we are to observe it closely and continually, our reconnaissance must be under acceleration, too. And how, I ask, do you propose to keep that secret? A spacecraft with a working engine is by the nature of things anything but secret."

"By the Emperor!" Reffet burst out. He lowered his eyes to the floor when naming his sovereign. So did Atvar, on hearing the title. From training since hatchlinghood, any member of the Race would have done the same. Still furious, Reffet went on, "These accursed Tosevites have no business flying in space." He used an emphatic cough to underline his words. "They have no business having instruments that let them detect what we do when we fly in space, either."

Atvar let his mouth fall open in amusement. "Come here, Reffet," he said, walking over to the window. "Come here--it is safe enough. I
intend no tricks, and the riots seem to have quieted down again, so no
Big Ugly is likely to be aiming a sniper's rifle in this direction at the moment. I want to show you something."

Suspicion manifest in every line of his forward-sloping body, Reffet came. "What is it?" The suspicion filled his voice, too.

"There." Atvar pointed west across the great river that flowed past
Cairo. "Do you see those three stone pyramids, there in the sand?"

Reffet deigned to turn one eye turret in that direction. "I see them.
What of it? They look massive, but weathered and primitive."

"They are primitive--that is my point," Atvar said. "They are as old as any monuments on this world. They were built as memorials to local rulers eight thousand years ago, more or less: eight thousand of our years--half that many for the years of Tosev 3. Eight thousand years ago, we had already had a planet- wide Empire for more than ninety thousand years. We had already conquered the Rabotevs. We had already conquered the Hallessi. We were beginning to wonder if the star
Tosev--this world's star--had any interesting planets. Here,
civilization was just hatching from its egg."

"And it should have taken much longer to hatch, too," Reffet said irritably. "The Big Uglies should still be building monuments much like these, as we were not long after we started gathering in cities."

"Truth." Atvar's voice was sad. "They should have. In fact, we thought they had. You will have seen this picture of a Tosevite warrior in full battle regalia before you set out from Home, of course."

He walked over to the hologram projector and called up an image. He had seen it countless times himself, both before reaching Tosev 3 and since.
It showed a hairy Big Ugly in rusty chainmail, armed with sword and spear and iron-faced wooden shield and riding a four-legged beast with a long head, an unkempt mane, and a shaggy tail.

"Yes, of course I have seen that image," Reffet said. "It is one of those our probe took sixteen hundred years ago. From it, we assumed the conquest would be easy."

"So we did," Atvar agreed. "But the point is, in those intervening sixteen hundred years--eight hundred of this planet's revolutions--the
Tosevites somehow developed industrial civilization. However much you and I and every other member of the Race may wish they had remained primitive, the sorry fact is that they did not. We have to deal with that fact now."

"It was not planned thus." Reffet made that an accusation. The Race moved by plans, by tiny incremental steps. Anything different came hard.

Atvar had been dealing with the Big Uglies for more than forty of his years. By painful necessity, he'd begun to adapt to the hectic pace of
Tosev 3. "Whether it was planned or not, it is so. You cannot crawl back into your eggshell and deny it."

Reffet wanted to deny it. Again, every line of his body showed as much.
So did the big breath of air he sucked deep into his lung. "I think I
would rather deal with the Tosevites than with you," he snarled. "I know they are aliens. With you, I cannot tell whether you have become half alien or are simply addled like an egg gone bad."

That did it. Atvar drew in a deep, angry breath of his own. It brought the stinks of Cairo--the stinks of Big Uglies and of their food and their wastes, as well as the stinks from the hydrocarbon-burning engines they had developed themselves--across the scent receptors in his tongue.
"Go away," he told Reffet, and added an emphatic cough of his own. "I
have not the time to deal with your stupidity. Whatever the Big Uglies in that spacecraft do, they will not do it soon. I am facing a serious uprising in the subregion of the main continental mass called China. I
have to deal with that now. I will deal with the American spacecraft as
I find the chance, or when it becomes urgent. Meanwhile, good day."

"You have turned into a Big Ugly," Reffet said furiously. "All you care about is the immediate. Anything that requires forethought is beyond you."

"Tosev 3 will do that to a male--unless it kills him first," Atvar answered. Then he paused. Both his eye turrets swung thoughtfully toward
Reffet. "Have you any notion how many casualties the Big Uglies'
continual revolts have cost us?"

"No, I do not." Reffet sounded peevish. As far as Atvar was concerned,
Reffet sounded peevish far too often. The fleetlord of the colonization fleet went on, "Had you done a proper job of conquering this planet, I
would not have to concern myself with such things--and neither would you."

I will not bite him, Atvar thought. I will not tear his belly open with my fingerclaws. But he hadn't known such temptation to pure, cleansing violence since a ginger-induced mating frenzy in Australia. Fortunately,
he had no ginger coursing through him now, nor could he smell any females pheromones. That let him stay his usual rational self. "Deal with things here as they are, Reffet," he said, "not as you wish they would be. Our casualties have been heavy, far heavier than anyone could possibly have anticipated before we left Home. Like it or not, that is a truth."

"Very well. That is a truth." Reffet still sounded peevish. "I do not see how it is a truth to concern me, however. I am in charge of colonists, not soldiers."

"All you care about is the immediate," Atvar said, waggling his jaw as he dropped it to turn his laugh nasty. He took malicious pleasure in bouncing the other fleetlord's words off his snout. "Anything that requires forethought is beyond you."

"Very well." Now Reffet sounded condescending. "What fresh nonsense is this?"

"It is no nonsense at all, but something we would have had to face sooner or later during our occupation of Tosev 3," Atvar answered. "It might as well be now. Have you noticed that this is a world consumed by war and rebellion, that the Big Uglies in the regions we occupy continually try to overthrow our rule, and that the Tosevites'
independent not-empires--the SSSR, the Greater German Reich, the United
States, and also the weaker ones like Nippon and Britain--train large numbers of their inhabitants as soldiers year after year?"

"I have noticed it," Reffet admitted, "but you are the fleetlord of the conquest fleet. Soldiers are your responsibility."

"Truth," Atvar said. "They are. This is not Home, where, save in a
Soldiers' Time of preparation for conquest, we have no soldiers, only police. Here, we will need soldiers continuously, for hundreds of years to come. Where shall we get them, if we do not begin the training of males, and possibly females as well, from among your precious colonists?"

"What?" Reffet cried. "This is madness! It is nothing but madness! My colonists are colonists. How can they become fighters?"

"The males I command managed," Atvar said. "I am certain I can recruit trainers from among them. Think, Reffet." He didn't bother being sardonic, not any more; the more he thought on this, the more important it looked. "How long can the Race endure here on Tosev 3 without soldiers to defend us?"

Reffet did think. Reluctantly, Atvar gave him credit for it. After a pause, the fleetlord of the colonization fleet said, "It could be that you are correct. I shall not commit myself further than that without analysis from my experts. If you would also convene a panel of your experts to examine the issue, I should be grateful."

With any other member of the Race on or near Tosev 3, Ref- fet could have given an order and heard It shall be done as reply. Having to make a polite request of Atvar surely grated on him. Atvar knew having to make a request of Reffet grated on him. Here, the request was nothing if not reasonable. "I will do that, and soon," Atvar promised. "It is something we need to examine, as I said."

"So it is." Like Atvar's, Reffet's temper seemed to be cooling. He said,
"If it proves we must do this thing, it will make us different from the members of the Race back on Home and inhabiting Rabotev 2 and Halless

"Males of the conquest fleet are already different from all other members of the Race," Atvar replied. "My hope is that, over the course of hundreds of years, we will gradually incorporate all the Big Uglies into the Empire and assimilate them to our way of doing things. If we succeed there, the differences between those of the Race here on Tosev 3
and those living on the other worlds of the Empire will gradually disappear."

"By the Emperor, may it be so," Reffet said. He and Atvar cast down their eyes again. Then, half talking to himself, Reffet went on, "But what if it is not so?"

"That is my nightmare," Atvar told him. "That has been my nightmare since we first discovered the Big Uglies' true nature. They change faster than we do. They grow faster than we do. They are still behind us, but not by so much as they were when we came to Tosev 3. If they, or some of them, remain hostile, if they look like they are passing us . .
." His voice trailed away.

"Yes?" Reffet prompted. "What then?"

"We may have to destroy this world, and our own colony on it," Atvar answered unhappily. "We may have to destroy ourselves, to save the

Under an acceleration of .01g, Lieutenant Colonel Glen Johnson had to wear a seat belt to stay in his chair. His effective weight was just over a pound and a half--not enough for muscles used to Earth's robust gravity to notice. Any fidgeting at all would have sent him bouncing around the Lewis and Clark's control room. Bouncing around in a room full of instruments wasn't recommended.

He turned to Colonel Walter Stone, the American spaceship's chief pilot.
"This is the best seat in the house," he said.

"You'd best believe it, Johnson," Stone answered. The two of them might have been cousins: they were both lean, athletic men in their early middle years; both crew cut; both, by coincidence, from Ohio. Johnson had started in the Marines, Stone in the Army Air Corps. Each looked down his nose at the other because of that.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 44 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Liked it!

    Read all seven novels about same characters. Well written; characterizations well delineated; kept up suspense, as well as juggling all the subplots pretty evenly. This is no happily ever after however. Characters die off and not all goes well for everyone.

    If there is a down-side it is that it seems as if there should be more novels to come. Several subplots are left hanging; not everything is wrapped up. There are a lot of "promises" made in the story line that aren't handled, just left off.

    On the whole I liked it and kept coming back for more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Open ended Open ended much

    Really enjoyed the first series and the beginning half of the second, after that I got the feeling HT just got tired of it but had to fulfill a publishing agreement.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great start to the second series!

    Quick head's up, if you haven't read the other series (The Worldwar series by Turtledove), go ahead and read those first. This series starts from the end of that series. Just an FYI.

    Back to the book. It starts twenty years after the end of the Worldwar series, and picks up on the lives of many of the main characters and where they stand now, and the changes humanity has made in the twenty years since the Race had invaded. What I liked was that the fate of the characters were all very believable, some living marginally better lives, some worse off, and some actually doing not too bad. The fate of France and Britain in general was surprising but make sense, and the author really uses the division of the world into the various not-empires to really good use to advance the plot.

    That being said, it is somewhat of a slow start. Gathering all these threads and tying them back together does take time and the book suffers somewhat from it, but it's understandable why. The addition of the colonization fleet add a fascinating looking into the social aspect of the Race, and the various problems their integration has brought. The further exploration (And surprising side effects) of ginger is really interesting and I thought it to be a great touch and plot point.

    In the end, however, this book is really setting the stage for the others in the series. The book ended with some great cliffhangers, and I already have the rest of the series on my Nook ready to go.

    In short, a great addition to this universe Turtledove has created. Not the best entry, but definitely a solid one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    not my favorite read

    This book just didn't do it for me. As it was the first book in the series, I was expecting a little more history from the previous series stories to explain some of the characters, but didn't really get any. It took a long time for me to figure out what year the story was supposed to be set in. Also, the story just ended, period. It was definately meant to get you to buy the second in the series, but it seemed more like it was written as one story and someone just picked a chapter and said this is the end of book #1. Don't know if I'll try any more in this series.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Great book

    I highly recommend it. And I found the cover to be awesome. I would put it up as a poster in my room I liked it so much. The series was wonderful for me and I look forward for the time to re read them all again.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Great book

    Recommended. He is a great author and I loved the series.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Great book

    I loved it. When I read it in high school I loved it. I plan to go back and read thm again. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2006

    AMW- on my third cup and still waitin'

    Surprisingly, I found this book entertaining. The storyline was intriguing. I would give this book 4 stars but I have not read any other books in the series therefore maybe the storylines not as infectious as I remember. However I would recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2006

    Let Down

    Harry Turtledove is an amazing author and I have really enjoyed a number of his books and series but this book left me hanging and very frustrated. As you can see I have read this series four years after they were published. I had this 'sinking' feeling as I finished this book that the author was going to 'leave us hanging and asking questions'. That is why I could only give this book three stars....good book and series but the ending is....more like an ending to a chapter or book....not one in a series. One more thing....I agree with a few other reviewers that SAM was a traitor to his country and should have been prosecuted. Then again I was never a fan of his when he stole Barbara in the earlier series. I found his character to be a pain. Harry finish this series please!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2003


    disappointing, unexciting ending to a good Riverworld series to see how things should end in a long series or Gene Wolf

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2003

    Kill Sam please.

    I loved the series up until the Colonization series started, now its become the: Sam & son Show. I possibly think this is why the series hasn't shown any signs of continuing, Sam was completely untouchable, and made even the idea of the book being 'Alternate History' unbelievable. It'd make more sense for the Race to completely leave Earth and forget all ideas of colonization than for Sam to continue existing. For anyone else that reads this review without having read the other books, I suppose this will fall on deaf ears. I personally know there are more than enough people that wish Sam was dead or would die, especially after the Indianapolis incident. (I'm from Houston, so don't think that's my reason for wanting him dead.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2003


    What can I say but, WOW! I have read all the books in this series. Yet, this last book, AFTERSHOCKS, has left me saying... WE WANT MORE! Just as the struggle starts getting to the point of no return and we all are on the edge of our seats. We learn that there will be no more.... HARRY, please continue....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2002

    The end?

    This book was great up until the end. It leaves you wondering if this was the last book in the series or if there is one yet to come. I'm still waiting for the next Colonization but i'm beginning to think that it is a lost hope. Harry, do your fans a favor and finish what you have begun! Other than that, the entire series and this book were great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2002

    Finish it - PLEASE

    The whole 7 book series is one of the best thought out and executed I have ever read. However, after completing Aftershocks I was very disappointed with the 'non-ending'. PLEASE tell me that there is a real ending - perhaps updated to the first decade of the 21st century? - to this otherwise masterful epic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2002

    When will it end? HT will undoubtably drag it out as long as he can...

    How many times can the 'Race' talk about the recon photo's of earth and how easy it would have been if humans didn't evolve so quickly? The answer- multiple times per book and I'm sure we'll continue to see the same dialog repeatly in each additional book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2002

    Is this the real end?

    After reading the whole series I feel let down by this ending. The end of the book leaves open so much for the reader to conclude. This series is so good that I beleive it could continue on so that a true ending may be reached.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2001

    Buy it in paperback

    While I must say that I find Turtledove's work interesting and well-researched, the characters and plot in this book lack depth.Overall the story is very linear and lack's any real good twists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2001

    Where is this story going?

    After having read all of the Worldwar series books and the previous 2 books of the Colonization series,I am beginning to wonder if Dr. Turtledove HAS a conclusion in mind. Although I rate the CONCEPT of the story 5-stars, the subsequent execution has been very frustrating and seems to be leading his loyal readers nowhere. I fully expected the involvement of the Deutsche not-Empire in a new campaign in Poland to trigger a new outbreak of warfare on a global scale and that the Lewis and Clark deep space mission would presage open warfare in space. I am becoming impatient for something (ANYTHING!) to happen to add a little excitement. I am thoroughly tired of repetitive episodes of Rance Auerbach/Penny Summers ginger deals/arrests and Kassequit's eternal self introspection as to whether or whether not she is a member of 'the Race' (or a Tosevite?). This story line seems to be marking time in molasses, and very little is actually happening to resolve the basic conflict between Tosevites and the Lizards. Too much time is being spent on trivial side anecdotes of Jonathan Yeager's wedding , someones varicose veins in Jerusalem , etc. and not enough time devoted to kicking lizard tailstumps out of the Tosev planetary system. I had high hopes for the Deutsche under Dr.Walter Dornberger (who actually was the driving force behind the W.W.2 V-2 rocket), and am disappointed in the role that the not-Empire of the United States has played.Where is Japan during all this?I'd really like to see Rance Auerbach in the role of a guerrilla cavalry leader instead of a broken down bum. After the really great Worldwar series,the 3 books of Colonization thus far rate only 2-3 stars and 4-5 yawns!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2001

    God, how much longer till this is over?

    This series is already long overdue for a conclusion. The last chapter should have been in the middle. All the fuss over the American's being responsible for taking out an invading starship -- one that brings with it the manufacturing and other production capabilities to allow the lizards to maintain a strong position indefinetely -- is utterly absurd. I'll give him one more try. If this next one is not the end, I'm not going to bother.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2001

    Turtledove writes in baited breath...I'm hooked

    An outstanding read, from cover to cover. Anyone who's familiar with Turtldove's work is already accutely aware of his historical knowledge...blend that with the splendid character development & fluid story telling, and you're in for a treat in 'Down to Earth.' What I found especially intriguing in this novel was the in-depth look it took at the psychi of both humans and those of the Race; the adaptability of each group to one another and the dramatic effects therein. Paints a broader picture of the world we live in: the pros & cons of diversity, the transferrence of ideas through assimilation, the involuntary will of any 'nation' to survive. Putting that aside, the action is great, the imagry clear, the dialogue captivating, and the story line flows like a river. It'll gel with it's audience. Check it out.

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