Haze

( 44 )

Overview

"What lies beneath the millions of orbiting nanotech satellites that shroud the world called Haze? Major Keir Roget's mission is to make planetfall in secret, find out, and report back to his superiors in the Federation, the Chinese-dominated government that rules Earth and the colonized planets." "For all his effectiveness as a security agent, Roget is troubled by memories of an earlier assignment in his career. When he was assigned to covert duty in the Noram backcountry town of St. George, he not only discovered that the long-standing Saint

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Overview

"What lies beneath the millions of orbiting nanotech satellites that shroud the world called Haze? Major Keir Roget's mission is to make planetfall in secret, find out, and report back to his superiors in the Federation, the Chinese-dominated government that rules Earth and the colonized planets." "For all his effectiveness as a security agent, Roget is troubled by memories of an earlier assignment in his career. When he was assigned to covert duty in the Noram backcountry town of St. George, he not only discovered that the long-standing Saint culture was neither as backward nor as harmless as his superiors believed, but he barely emerged with his life and sanity whole." Now, scouting Haze, he finds a culture both seemingly familiar and frighteningly alien, with hints of a technology far superior to that of the Federation. Yet he is not quite certain how much of what he sees is real or how to alert his superiors to a danger he cannot prove - if he can escape Haze.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Sent by the Chinese-dominated Federation that rules Earth and its colony planets to infiltrate the satellite-shrouded planet Haze, Maj. Keir Roget discovers a culture both familiar and disturbingly alien, stirring up memories of a mission that nearly cost him his sanity. This psychological sf thriller by the prolific author of the multivolume "Recluce" fantasy series incorporates carefully delineated characters with believable far-future scenarios. Modesitt's fans as well as readers of hard sf should appreciate this story of imminent interstellar war.


—Jackie Cassada
Kirkus Reviews
Independent science-fiction consciousness-raiser, from the versatile and dependable Modesitt (Imager, 2009, etc.). Major Keir Roget is a security agent for the Federation, a repressive, Chinese-dominated military empire that has ruled Earth and its colonized planets for more than a thousand years. His new assignment is to penetrate the veiling clouds of planet Haze, because his superiors suspect the presence of a dangerously subversive Thomist (skeptic) culture outside the Federation's control. Battered by orbiting concentric spheres of defensive nanotech satellites, Roget's boat barely survives the drop into a remote section of Haze. After hiking for two days, he's met by Lyvia Rholyn, who tells him she'll be his guide to Dubiety, as the locals call it. If what Roget sees and learns can be believed, the planet is a utopia that stresses ecological harmony, education and truth, and its science includes techniques that resemble time travel and teleportation. Lyvia hints that Thomists have colonized more than one world; moreover, this isn't the first time the Federation has threatened Haze/Dubiety. Roget has good reason to distrust his Federation superiors. Alternating chapters relate an earlier mission to root out subversives in the dusty, energy-deprived Saint culture of Utah, during which time he not only discovered that the Saints were neither as primitive nor as innocuous as he had been told, but received a reminder of the values the Federation despises. The Saint sections engage, but clever, coolly rational Haze/Dubiety lacks drama.
From the Publisher
"This psychological sf thriller...incorporates carefully delineated characters with believable far-future scenarios." —-Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765362902
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 937,663
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


L. E. Modesitt, Jr., is the bestselling author of over forty novels encompassing two science fiction series and three fantasy series, including the Saga of Recluce series.

William Dufris has been nominated nine times as a finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award and has garnered tweny-one Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which also named him one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

3 MARIS 1811 p. d. [6749 f. e.]

The man in the drab pale blue Federation shipsuit sat inside the oblong cubicle just large enough for the chair and hood that provided direct sensory- reinforced information—useful for everything from maintenance data to in- depth intelligence briefings. After thirty standard minutes, he removed the hood, rose to his feet, pushed back the screen as he stepped out onto the dark blue of the third deck. The bulkheads were an eye- resting blue, close to the shade of his shipsuit, and devoid of any decoration or projections. That was true of all bulkheads on the WuDing, and of all Federation deep- space vessels. He eyed the three datastations for a moment, now all empty, then shook his head.

He stood 193 centimeters and massed 104.4 kilograms, and under the ship’s single grav, mass and weight matched. His hair was nondescript brown. His eyes were silver gray.

He frowned for a moment, still trying to ignore the residual odor of burning hair that remained trapped in his nostrils. The odor was a side effect of the suspension cradles in which he and much of the Wu -Ding’s crew had spent the transit out from Fronera, and it would pass. It certainly had on his missions to Khriastos and Marduk. He just wished the odor had already departed. He remained motionless, trying to organize the mass of information he had been men11 tally force- fed.

ITEM: The planet was too close to the K7 orange- tinted sun to be habitable under normal conditions, although the system was older by at least a billion years than the Sol system.

ITEM: The planet had a mass of 1.07 T-norm, with an upper atmosphere that suggested optimal habitability.

ITEM:: The planet itself was impenetrable to all forms of Federation scanning and detection technology.

ITEM: The planet presented an image of featureless silver gray haze to normal human vision and remained equally feature less to all forms of observation technology.

ITEM: It had no moons or objects of significant individual mass in orbit.

ITEM: Identical objects massing approximately .11 kilograms orbited the planet in at least three differing levels. The number of such objects in each orbital sphere could not be quantified, but estimates suggested more than two million per sphere.

ITEM:The planet radiated nothing along any known spectrum. No electromagnetic radiation, no gravitonic waves, no nothing . . . except a certain amount of evenly dispersed heat and radiation consisting of energy reflected from the planet’s sun.

ITEM: He had to find out what lay below that silver gray haze.

He nodded slowly, then stretched. He disliked info- feed briefings. He always had. He turned and began to walk toward the WuDing’s Operations Control. His shipboots were silent on the plastiform deck.

Major Roget, to OpCon.

Stet. On my way.

There was no response. The colonel disliked unnecessary communications, particularly on the shipnet, and particularly when he had to deal with an FSA agent transferred into his command at the rank of major. The other four FSA agents accompanying Roget were lieutenants and captains, though he’d known none of them before boarding the WuDing.

An Ops monitor tech, also in a pale blue shipsuit, hurried in Roget’s direction. As she neared him, her eyes took in his collar insignia, and she averted her eyes, just enough to display the proper respect.

Roget inclined his head fractionally in response and continued to the first ladder, which he ascended. Two levels up, he headed aft.

The hatch to Colonel Tian’s office irised open at Roget’s approach and closed behind him. Roget took two steps into a space four times the size of the briefing cubicle and halted. The office held two chairs. The colonel sat in one.

"Sir," offered Roget.

"Please be seated, Major." The colonel gestured for Roget to take the other chair. The thin operations console was folded flush against the aft bulkhead. Hard- connected systems worked far better in battle than broadband links, although no Federation warship had been in a pitched space battle in centuries.

Roget sat down and waited.

The colonel steepled his fingers, his eyes looking not at Roget, but through the major. He was a good half a head shorter than Roget, but slender, almost willowy despite his age, and his black eyes were youthfully ancient. Finally, he spoke. "According to the report forwarded by FSA, you are most capable, Major, especially when acting alone. Your accomplishments on Marduk and on system station Khriastos appear particularly noteworthy." Tian paused. "In de pen dent action, in par tic u lar, may be needed on this assignment, and that is why the FIS requested assistance from FSA."

"Yes, sir."

"What do you think lies behind that haze- shield, Major?"

"An alien culture. Probably Thomist, but that would be speculation, sir."

"You consider the Thomists as aliens?" The colonel’s tone suggested raised eyebrows, but his face remained serene.

"Alien to the goals and aims of the Federation, certainly."

"How would you define alien?"

"Not aligned and unfathomable," replied Roget easily. He’d reported to more than enough hard- eyed and unnamed FSA colonels over the years that an FIS colonel was hardly anything to worry about.

"Unfathomable?"

"Theoretically intellectually understandable, but not emotionally comprehensible."

The colonel offered the slightest nod. "Analytics calculate the probability at 73 percent for the likelihood of a Thomist world."

Again, Roget waited. Even for a Federation Interstellar Ser vice security officer, the colonel was being casual, if not blasé, about the discovery of a human splinter culture or an alien world. Unlike Roget, he had to have known of the world long before Roget’s briefing.

"Do you have any questions?"

"How long have we known about this world?" Roget asked the question because it was expected, not because he anticipated a meaningful answer.

"If it’s Thomist, we’ve known about the possibility for quite a time."

"How long might that be, sir?"

"Long enough. We’re not absolutely certain it is a Thomist world. That’s your task. You will, of course, wear a pressure suit until you confirm that the world is not environmentally hostile, and your dropboat is configured with some additional survival features to deal with that eventuality, although the scientists believe such is unlikely."

The colonel’s response confirmed Roget’s feelings. The senior officer wasn’t about to answer the questions Roget would have liked to ask, and the ones he would answer had already been addressed by the console briefing. The issue of a hostile environment had also been touched upon and dismissed, as if the colonel knew far more than he was revealing.

"Any other questions?"

"No, sir."

"Your outward complacency exemplifies your inner arrogance, Major."

"Yes, sir."

"Inscrutability behind an emotional facade. The heritage of failed Noram supremacy." Tian’s short laugh was humorless.

"As opposed to inscrutability behind inscrutability, sir?"

"There is a difference between inscrutability and deception, Major. It’s called honesty, I believe."

"Yes, sir."

"If you’re successful, Major, you’ll doubtless end up in a position

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Dumbfounded.... Why was this published?

    I am an ardent science fiction/science fantasy/space opera fan and rabid consumer of all things related thereto. I purchased an ePub of Haze in part because of the New York Times review and in part because of the few synopsis that I had read.

    Having now finished this book, I cannot recommend it to even the hardiest of L.E. Modesitt fans! Haze incorporates 3 distinct story lines, only two of which have anything to do with one another. Modesitt fails to nuance any of his characters or themes which renders one of the three story lines a direct smack-in-the-face preach-fest. To make matters worse, Modesitt contradicts himself and his positions on several occasions rendering the entire work self-indulgent, bordering on pedantic.

    Haze is slow paced. The pacing however works, to a point. There came a time at the end where I noticed the page count at the bottom and I began to get excited, adrenaline built up and I prepared myself for all of the plot threads to reveal the tapestry. In short, IT DIDN'T DO SO! Haze ends in an incredibly anti-climactic way after having shoehorned some last minute environmental and geo-political scripture into itself.

    In conclusion, Haze feels like a lazy and badly edited work which feels almost schizophrenic at times. I cannot recommend Haze to anyone except those who are in need of intense disappointment in their literary lives. The final impression that I take away from Haze (after having written this review), is the same as another reviewer on Amazon, "Why was this even written?"

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    This book is really great. It was a little different then most books I've read which I liked. I think it's a great book and definitely worth your time.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2010

    Boring for 200 pages, then just okay

    This book is 90% about politics, environmentalism, and sociology, and barely 10% science fiction. I had to force myself to read the first 200 pages until it got interesting. Even then, it was only marginal.
    The story could have been very engaging, but there was no depth to anything; the science, the world, the ships, or the characters. I't's like having a great idea, but not knowing how to write a book.
    He did do a good job explaining how much walking the character did.

    I love to own all the books I read, but I wouldn't mind returning this one.
    For comparison, I read: Arthur C. Clarke, David Weber, Alan Dean Foster, Tom Clancy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    The Courtyard

    ~•|The Crystal Castle|•~

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

    Enjoyable!

    One thing I like about Modesitt's SF books (I've not read any of his fantasy) is that he has a point of view about society and used his stories to express it. I may not always agree with it but I appreciate it. He certainly makes some points with regards to how societies operate in this book, and there are some pointed observations with regard to our (US) society.
    Although not part of a series, this story takes place in the same universe as many of his other stories and builds on the larger picture of that universe. In that regard and assuming that is the authors intent he succeeds quite well. We do indeed gain a larger picture of his universe.
    The Authors bounces the protagonist around a bit with this story but is always progressing the evolution of the story and character. There is not a lot of action sequences in HAZE, so if you are looking for a action book this may not be the best choice for you. But if you enjoy speculative fiction or books that evoke some thought on reading, you might enjoy HAZE.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    A stinker

    This book is apparently an excuse for the author to expound some rather trite and confused sociological dogma. The characters are worse than cardboard cut-outs, the plot moves at a continental drift pace and the grand conclusion is possibly the most boring space battle ever described. Save your money and, more importantly, your time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    One of Modesitt's best in a while

    In Haze, Modesitt breaks out of his SF pattern in which everyone stands and stares while the protagonist fixes everything while suffering from the consequences of his actions.

    Great book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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