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A Ship of the Law travels the infinite enormity of space, carrying 82 young people: fighters, strategists, scientists; the Children. They work with sophisticated non-human technologies that need new thinking to comprehend them. They are cut off forever from the people they left behind. Denied information, they live within a complex system that is both obedient and beyond their control. They are frightened. And they are making war against entities whose technologies are so advanced, so vast, as to dwarf them. Against something whose psychology is ultimately, unknowably alien.
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Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books, spanning the thriller, science fiction, and fantasy genres, including Blood Music, Eon, The Forge of God, Darwin’s Radio, City at the End of Time, and Hull Zero Three. His books have won numerous international prizes, have been translated into more than twenty-two languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide.From Kirkus Reviews:
A book-length amplification of the last pages of The Forge of God (1987). After Earth's destruction by the planet-eating machines of the Killers, the Benefactors--another group of aliens--create the Ship of the Law crewed by Earth survivors (it's the Law that victims of the machines must pursue vengeance). Martin, a young boy in the previous volume, now near-adult, is the Pan (i.e., leader--the rest of the crew are Lost Boys and Wendys). We see them drilling endlessly for the future skirmish and arguing over whether the mothers (Benefactor robots who maintain the ship) have told them everything they need to know to do the Job. They find several star systems that seem to be the Killers' home; they attack one and are repelled by an anti-matter counterattack, escaping only by a high- tech hairsbreadth. Then they continue to a second system, and are joined in their effort by a fascinating alien race who are aggregate intelligences braided of individual snakelike animal- level parts. Internal strife among the humans makes more difficult their task of penetrating the overwhelming technological superiority and deceptiveness of the Killers; but they ultimately destroy the entire system via a combination of superweapons and aggressive brute force, leaving the moral tone highly ambiguous. Lacking both the real-world anchoring of its predecessor and the transcendent ending it promises (finding a new home planet--a third volume?), and telling far more than it shows. Despite some interesting ideas, then: slow and unrewarding. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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