Monday, December 2, 2002

Godcountry by Colleen Drippe

Novel Books, Inc., 1591050022, $5.50

Eduardo Sabat was once a slave. Because he does not know the codes which will remove it, he still wears the shackle-like bracelet that once bound him to servitude in a pagan land, and which continues to remind him of his past. Though first instinct for a freed man would be to distance himself as far as possible from the place of slavery, it is not Eduardo's instinct. Now a for-hire mercenary partnered with the hardy Otto Zeller, Eduardo willingly treks back into the desolate colony called Godcountry, motivated by the job but not entirely aware of the consequences.

While the risks involved in returning to Godcountry are given, Eduardo is surprised by the attempts to foil his mission of returning the captured Hermadon Pelanot - son of the colony of Hithia's leader - to the custody of his stern aunt. His estranged wife is mysteriously murdered, and soon attempts on his own life follow. Nevertheless, Eduardo presses onward with the help of a motley party which includes the devout Christian Wolfbane and a crew of interplanetary religious known as the Star Brothers, whose faith gives Eduardo something to ponder as he discovers the threat to his life is closer than he actually realizes.

Godcountry is hard science fiction blended nicely with elements of faith and humanity. This story of a bleak future plagued by religious persecution and interplanetary greed bolstered through human slavery doesn't offer an immediate resolution to any problems, but offers the reader an intense look at how faith can exist in a hostile society and therefore offer a future of hope.

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