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Jane Lindskold's latest science fiction novel has a strong female hero

Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold


In some ways, "Artemis Awakening" is reminiscent of Andre Norton's post apocalyptic novels that take place on an Earth like planet, where advanced forerunner technology was present, but now is home to the leftover human survivors, who are making do in a less advanced world. In addition, Jane Lindskold, like Norton, has been able to create memorable human characters who have a bond with animals. Like her 2001 "Through Wolf Eyes", which featured a girl who could speak with intelligent wolves, this science fiction tale has a strong female protagonist with a telepathic bond to her "demiurge" a huge puma. Typically in the Norton novels, the main character is on a quest. "Artemis Awakening" also features a quest plot, but unlike the more traditional Norton novels, the quest takes a left turn midway through the novel. While not the best science fiction out there, this first book in a new series offers a pleasant science fiction diversion and promises more in the future.

Griffin Dane is an archeologist historian, who has figured out where the legendary Old Empire pleasure planet Artemis is located. Artemis inhabitants were bio engineered for specific roles on the planet. Some were hunters to take the Empire's richest citizens, known as Seegnurs into the wild, while others were factotums, who fixed and set up trips. The planet has been hidden in time since the Old Empire collapsed in a titanic war. Artemis was also attacked. The rich killed and the fabled link between the Seegnurs and the planet destroyed. Or was it?

While orbiting the planet, Griffen's shuttle crashes and he barely gets out alive, rescued from the site by the beautiful Huntress Adara and her telepathically linked puma Sand Shadow, who take him to meet her mentor, Bruin, a loremaster. Griffin soon learns that Adara and Sand Shadow both have adaptions- Adara's eyes enable her to see in the dark, and her hands can be changed to claws, while Sand Shadow can grow hands.

Bruin suggests that his teacher -The Old One- might hold the key to helping Griffin, but the story takes one of several left turns, when Griffin, Bruin and Adara learn that Old One may be doing experiments on woman in an attempt to breed children with special adaptions. Adara, Griffin and the factotum Terrill visit the Old One to learn the truth. At the same time, Griffin's arrival on the planet may have triggered Artemis to start to link up with its dwellers. When Griffin disappears, Adara and Terrill must learn the truth, while Griffin fights to get free.

The predictable denouement contains a bunch of hints about the next volume in this intriguing series.