PHOENIX CAFÉ by Gwyneth Jones


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 Third volume of the trilogy (White Queen, 1993; North Wind, 1996) about the exploitation of Earth by baboon-like, hermaphrodite, serially immortal aliens. Catherine is a human/alien hybrid. Though biologically human, her father is the influential Aleutian, Lord Maitri; mentally, Catherine herself the reincarnation of Clavel, the Aleutian Third Captain from the First Expedition. Now, after 300 years, the Aleutians are preparing to leave, and a human conspiracy, led by Misha Connelly and his friends at the Phoenix Cafe, are plotting against them. Catherine feels guilty for the rape she committed as Clavel, so she allows Misha to abuse and manipulate her. Then the Americans, who've permitted no contact with the Aleutians, prepare to receive a trade delegation. Maitri lies dying. Catherine discovers that Misha's plotters have been preparing ghastly biological weapons to use against the Aleutians, in retaliation for the aliens' refusal to share their advanced technology--though it turns out that they've developed the technology independently anyway. The biological weapons are for one human faction to use against another. Maitri dies, Catherine gets some explanations for her strange experiences, and the Aleutians depart. Wonderful aliens, unpleasant gender conflicts, heavy-handed metaphors, imperceptible plot: It all adds up to a churning, unsatisfying, rather unwieldy wrapup.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86534-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1997


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