Humankind has arrived on Moss to discover if any intelligent native life exists there, and to assess the planet, recently discovered by the Derac, a nomadic space-faring race, for development - and profit. Multi-coloured shapes of dancing light have been spotted; strange sounds are heard in the night; the researchers name them the Mossen and send for a linquist to ascertain if it is evidence of intelligent life. Jewel Delis has accompanied her half-brother Paul to this verdant paradise. Her task is to help Paul decipher the strange language of the Mossen - but she has a secret mission too. A new law on Earth means the imminent massacre of all beasts great and small, so Jewel must discover if Moss holds the promise of sanctuary for the doomed animals - once humankind's beloved companions. Time is running out for Jewel's creatures, but it might be running out for Humanity too: the Planet Moss, itself a living entity, is not sure it cares for any of the species currently living on its surface ...
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Sheri S. Tepper is the author of several resoundingly acclaimed novels, including The Fresco, Singer from the Sea, Six Moon Dance, The Family Tree, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Shadow's End, A Plague of Angels, Sideshow and Beauty, which was voted Best Fantasy Novel of the Year by the readers of Locus magazine. Ms. Tepper lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.From Publishers Weekly:
Fans will hail Hugo nominee Tepper's latest (after 2002's The Visitor), with its compelling story of an ordinary woman flung into extraordinary circumstances, but interesting ideas left undeveloped, awkward transitions from first to third person and unfair withholding of information may annoy others. Earth, incredibly overcrowded, has passed a new law prohibiting nonhuman life on the planet. Jewel Delis, dog keeper and member of an underground animal-rights group, wrangles her way to the planet Moss with several dogs, ostensibly to help her unpleasant half brother Paul, a linguist, figure out the peculiar language of the planet's varied inhabitants. Jewel finds Moss every bit as odd as advertised, with strange and dangerous plants, fantastic dances performed by creatures that may or may not be intelligent, and a group of humans descended from the crew of a spaceship that crash-landed years earlier. But figuring out how the Mossen communicate is only the beginning, as Jewel and her dogs get sucked into a portal, where Moss, Mars, the dogs, a missing alien race and Jewel's ex-husband collide. As usual in this author's novels, overt themes of ecology and feminism combine with thrilling mystery, and just as typically, a deus ex machina-here aliens stepping in to save the day-makes for a less than emotionally satisfying ending. Still, Tepper talks about important issues, besides excelling at world-building and at creating strong and independent characters.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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