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Posted August 7, 2013
A. C. Crispin and Kathleen O'Malley start this novel in a way that shows how dangerous first contact can be, and the peril of planetary living underlines the political intrigues in the plot. If Earth can prove successful first contact with a new species, that will secure the planet's full membership in an interstellar league. Unfortunately for the Terrans, another race wants that membership slot and is trying to undermine their efforts. So are privateers who want to exploit the planet's resources and sell the beautiful, feathered hides of the avian inhabitants. While the story focuses on bridging inter-species and cultural divides, it also has action and intrigue.
At issue is the nature of the planet's main avian species, a crane-like race called the Grus. If they're intelligent, interaction with them can qualify as first contact and secure the league membership for Earth as well as guaranteeing the protection of the planet. If they aren't, then all bets are off, and everything is ripe for exploitation.
Tesa, the young heroine of Silent Dances, becomes the "interrelator" for the first contact effort. Deaf from birth, she's in no danger from the Grus' potentially lethal cries. She also knows sign language, which enables her to learn the Grus' equivalent more readily than someone with no such experience. She moves into the nest of the Grus' leader and his mate and helps foster their new hatchling. But not everyone in the flock likes this idea. The Grus' leader faces opposition and an attempted coup from within his flock. There's also another avian race who are the Grus' mortal enemies.
This is a thoughtful examination of the issues involved in first contact. It also encourages the reader to consider what "normal" really means. I missed the Starbridge series when it was originally published, but I loved Silent Dances and am delighted to have the series available again. I can't wait to read the rest of it!
Posted January 17, 2012
Posted January 15, 2012
Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!
Loved the first book when I read it in the late 80's and was soo happy to discover that the series was being released in ebook. Just started reading this one and it is already wonderful.