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Posted April 7, 2010
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Against the Terrans - The First Age (Recontact)
30 years before "Star of Danger"
Andrew Carr is a Terran who has traveled the stars and planets, at the will of the administrators and computers. Like a sailor, he has been around. He is experienced bisexually, but he still wanders the galaxy lonely.
After a chance visit to a fortuneteller he is shown who his soul mate is. He becomes a member of Mapping and Exploration, so he can then take a team out to the Hellers to find the woman that he is drawn to. Being inexperienced and unprepared to handle the violent environment of the Hellers, their aircraft crashes on the rim of a cliff.
Andrew is saved from his death by the shade of Callista, (proving that he possesses psi talents of his own). At first, Andrew has a hard time believing that Callista is real, until the ghost-girl guides him to safety to Armida. Once arriving at the castle, the Darkovans show their hospitality to the Terran, where he tells his side of the story to the Alton family.
His tale tells Damon and Ellemir of Callista's imprisonment and her suffering of fear, cold, hunger, and abuse. With Ellemir's insistent encouragement, Damon Ridenow tries to help Callista's twin sister rescue her from her kidnappers. Ellemir does not have the Gift that Callista possesses. As told to by Leonie of Arilinn, if Damon were born a woman, he would be a Keeper of a Tower, because of his amazing ability of laran.
Once finding Callista's hidden starstone and with Damon's trip into the overland, they find that she is being kept by the cat-men. What purpose could the cat-men have with Callista and not take her starstone too?
The cat-men are too dangerous to take on without the aid of Lord Alton's, Dom Esteban, swordsmanship. The cat-men are able to hide, and can only be seen through the use of a starstone. Unfortunately, he has been paralyzed from their recent encounter. Therefore, he uses the Alton Gift to aid Damon to battle the cat-men, and uses Andrew's telepathic abilities to find Callista in the confusing maze of the caves of Corresanti.
Marion Zimmer Bradley's fight scenes are a bit difficult to follow. There are so many elements happening at the same time with trying to keep straight and figure out who is fighting in who's body, and who is in who's mind. In addition, there is Andrew and Callista's confusing out of their body experiences. It's hard to tell when they are there or are not there. They are intimate but yet they are not. (And was there a four-way? I agree with Andrew on this one. I'm not sure. I found myself just reading through it because I was getting a headache and dizzy.) At some point, you just have to start enjoying the story.
Damon needs to be able to find Callista, and save her from the threat of the Great Cat. For Damon, returning to Armida with Callista will prove to Dom Esteban that he is worthy of marrying Ellemir, and into the Alton family. Or will Andrew's interference be more of a harm and hindrance to her rescue? Because of his intense connection to Callista, Andrew has gone native. Ultimately, how willing will Lord Alton and Callista be to give away her virginity, resulting in her lose of being a Keeper.
Posted April 20, 2010
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