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WesternSFA
Farseed
by Pamela Sargent
TOR Teen, $9.99, 287pp
Release Date: January 8, 2013
This is the second book in the “Seed Trilogy” by Sargent, originally published in 2007.

In the last book, Ship had just found a class M world to deposit the cluster of human teenagers it had raised for just this purpose.

Twenty years have passed since the teenagers were deposited on the planet they have simply named “Home”. They have established a settlement and are surviving well enough. Ship found a class M planet with no intelligent life or large carnivores. So the planet has been populated not only by humans, but by wolves, deer, horses, sheep and other Earth animals. There are some indigenous life forms just nothing dangerous.

Though most of the humans stayed in one place, a splinter group of malcontents moved off to the south toward the ocean.  They remained there, occasionally returning to the original settlement to trade.  Then, they stopped coming.

Curious as to their fate, three people set out from the settlement to reestablish contact.  This is, of course, when things fall apart.

Nuy, the daughter of the malcontent leader Ho is out exploring and comes across the strangers. She moves in close to listen to their conversation and when one decides to scout ahead on his own, Nuy follows him.

The two finally meet and Chiang from the settlement finds out what happened to Ho’s people. They have lost their technology, their horses and a fever swept through their settlement killing all but a dozen people.

Nuy brings Chiang back to her father. But her father, who has been sliding into madness, sees Chiang as a threat and kills him.

He throws Nuy out claiming she might have become contaminated with an unknown disease since she traveled with the stranger.  Nuy is on her own.

She takes Chiang’s horse and backtracks to where he left the other two, Bonnie and Tonio. A sudden destructive storm comes up and Nuy, used to this, finds shelter.

But when she finds Chiang’s two friends, she discovers one of them has a broken leg and a head injury. They stayed down by the ocean in a cave where the storm hit the hardest and a lot of their supplies as well as their horses were swept away.

 Nuy finally persuades them to return to their settlement.

Meanwhile, in the original settlement, several of the current crop of teenagers decide they want to search for the three who set out to explore because they haven’t returned and a great deal of time has passed.

And the adventures begin.

Each group searching for the others run across dangers. The biggest danger to them all is Ho who has decided to come after his daughter.

And decides to flush her out the best way he knows: a brush fire.

The characters are well-rounded and Nuy, especially, is compelling because she’s the one who stretches beyond her current life to reach out to a new way of doing things. She and a few others from her settlement have actually brought genetic change to the denizens of Home because the planet, after twenty years has subtly changed human DNA.

The teenagers from the larger settlement are instrumental in changing the way their elders view their society

It’s a cliché to say this, but: This is a journey of discovery for everyone.

And a very satisfying read. ~~ Sue Martin

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