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by Anne McCaffrey

Pub Date: May 24th, 1995
ISBN: 0-399-14062-X
Publisher: Ace/Berkley

 First of a new series from the author of The Dolphins of Pern (1994), etc. When the Earth is attacked by humanoid, heavy-planet alien Catteni, many of its people are taken to distant worlds and enslaved. Kristin Bjornsen manages to escape and live free in the jungle, until one day she sees the Catteni hunting down one of their own kind. On impulse, Kris helps the aristocratic Zainal, then foolishly allows them both to be recaptured. Soon Kris and Zainal, along with hundreds of other prisoners, both human and alien, are dumped with only minimal survival gear on yet another planet. According to Zainal, this is how the Catteni colonize new worlds. This time, however, ex-marine sergeant Chuck Mitford takes charge of the motley group, swiftly organizing the various races into survival teams depending on their abilities. Despite initial hostility, Zainal wins the respect of the humans, revealing that the Catteni themselves are but servants of still more powerful aliens. But their new planet isn't altogether uninhabited--it's a farm world run by machines on behalf of unknown aliens. The colonists lose no time in disassembling the machines and rebuilding them into all sorts of useful devices, while they make plans to capture the alien mother ship when it returns to collect the planet's harvest. Meanwhile, Kris and Zainal become lovers. And then.... After that contrived opening, the narrative hits an admirable groove--only to terminate rudely and abruptly, without even a token conclusion. Yes, readers, you've been suckered again.