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WesternSFA
Saints Astray
Jacqueline Carey
Grand Central Publishing, $14.99, 356pp
Release Date: November 22, 2011

This is a sequel to Ms. Carey’s “Santa Olivia.”  In Santa Olivia, the USA co-opted a Chinese bio-engineering project to make super-soldiers and created a no-man’s zone between Texas and Mexico due to a flu pandemic.  These two events collided in a small town named Outpost 12 where the inhabitants are prisoners and forgotten by the rest of the country.  A young girl with unusual genes inherited from her father, one of the super soldiers, fights the good fight against the military authority in her town.  And leaves a heroine.

This story picks up after our heroines, Loup and Pilar, have left Santa Olivia and the United States and journeyed into a bigger world.  Since Loup hasn’t hidden what she is – a bio-engineered person – she becomes greatly in demand as a fashionable bodyguard.  She contracts with a personal security company and she and Pilar undergo rigorous training.  After training, they accept a long-term contract with a popular music group as their personal bodyguard and assistant.  They are also paying close attention to the news of their friends and town.  They hope to bring a news spotlight on the plight of the town and bring their friends back into society.  But when one of their friends who was trying to tell the truth to the US authorities goes missing, it’s up to Loup and Pilar to rescue him.  But that means the women must reenter the United States and risk arrest.  Because, you see…. Loup is considered the property of the USA and not a real person.

Ms. Carey demonstrates again that she can write.  It’s a brief story, really, not an epic.  But she manages to infuse her protagonists with so much life that it seems like a larger story.  It’s not terribly science-fictiony but still captivating. ~~ Catherine Book. 

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