Lindskold (Five Odd Honors, 2010, etc.) opens a new series with a lost civilization, psychic powers and a truly despicable villain.
Once there was an incredibly advanced galactic empire that controlled vast technologies with a thought. Its rulers developed the planet Artemis as a vacation spot, creating a carefully cultivated “primitive” milieu and genetically engineering the humans and animals who served as staff. Hundreds of years later, historian Griffin Dane confirms he’s rediscovered Artemis by crash-landing onto the planet. Huntress Adara, her telepathically bonded puma, Sand Shadow, and her friends attempt to help Griffin return home by seeking advice from the Old One Who Is Young, a seemingly immortal man with his own scheme to recover Artemis’ lost technology. Lindskold does an excellent job of turning what could be stock characters (naïve city boy, wild huntress, etc.) into real men and women. It’s particularly refreshing that Adara and the other Artermisians are not, as Griffin initially assumes, “noble savages”—but intelligent, resourceful people with intellectual curiosity. The plot, if not especially complex or groundbreaking (and with a final twist too obviously lampshaded by the novel’s title), does offer enough puzzles to set up future volumes.
Worth sticking around to see what happens next.