Acorna the "unicorn girl" -- found as a baby years ago, abandoned and floating alone in an escape pod at the far end of the galaxy -- has made peace with her past, her Linyaari heritage, and with the powerful "differences" that set her apart from the loving humans who raised her. But only in the deep reaches of limitless space can she truly feel at home.
Now, aboard the interplanetary salvage vessel Condor, Acorna is free once more, traveling through space in the company of her good friend, ship's commander Captain Jonas Becker, his gargantuan feline "first mate" Roadkill, and Aari, a proud Linyaari survivor of torture at the hands of the savage, bug-like Khleevi. But the journey is interrupted when a transmitted distress call -- faint but undeniable -- draws Acorna and her companions down to the surface of a nearby planet.
What awaits them is a world of wonders, shrouded in an atmosphere of strange, intoxicating perfumes. Intelligent, sentiment plants help guide Acorna, Becker, Aari, and RK to the source of the SOS. But a broken, burned out -- alien ship is all they find, the pitiful remnants of a relentlessly brutal yet carefully coordinated assault. To Acorna, the signs are unmistakable.
This is the grim handiwork of the cold-blooded species that seeks the complete eradication of all human and Linyaari life from the galaxy...the Khleevi!
And suddenly all that Acrona holds dear is in grave peril. Because the devastation that was wrought here was no isolated occurence, but the opening move in a planned onslaught that will decimate the two races to whom Acorna is culturally, emotionally, and genetically tied. A worlds-shattering catastrophe is in the making -- unless one courageous and beautiful young woman with remarkable healing powers and her small, motley group of friends can go the unthinkable: discover the fearsome insectile enemy's greatest weakness...and strike first.
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Anne McCaffrey, a multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner, was one of the world's most beloved and bestselling science fiction and fantasy writers. She is known for her hugely successful Dragonriders of Pern books, as well as the fantasy series that she cowrote with Elizabeth A. Scarborough that began with Acorna: The Unicorn Girl.
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the author of Channeling Cleopatra and the Nebula Award-winning The Healer's War, as well as more than twenty science fiction and fantasy novels. She lives in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.From Publishers Weekly:
Gentle Unicorn Girl Acorna makes her fourth appearance in this galaxy-spanning successor to Acorna's Quest. Her shy, empathetic race, the pacific Linyaari, are still menaced by the horrid insectoid Khleevi, whose cannibalistic Young feast on their own elders as well as on other races they torture and destroy. Acorna, aboard the Condor, a spacegoing salvage ship captained by her friend Jonas Becker and accompanied by the vile-tempered Makahomian Temple Cat Road Kill and her Linyaari friend, Aari, who was previously maimed by the Khleevi, answers a distress call that leads her to a planet of sticky-veined sentient vines holding the secret to sapping the Khleevi and saving the Linyaari from extermination. Along the way, Acorna and Aari fall in love, a giant new Moon of Opportunity marketing venture (MOO) opens up for Acorna's adopted neo-Bedouin Uncle Hafiz, and the former slave children Acorna rescued earlier enjoy suitable education, gainful employment and a future of endless Happy Meals. Predictably strong on sweetness and light, noble self-sacrifice and plenty of teeny-bopper growing-up pangsAthough correspondingly superficial in characterizations and future scientific wondersAthis latest chapter in Acorna's adventures also offers (especially toward its close) some wry social commentary on capitalistic machinations and elder-eating younger generations: harmless good spacefaring fun. The novel includes a glossary of terms and proper names and "Brief Notes on the Linyaari Language." (Aug.)
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