Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Book Review: Coyote Rising

March Hare Rating System: 3.5 bookmarks out of 5.

I got sidetracked while reading this book, the sequel to Coyote, by Allen Steele. This is never a good sign! The first sidetrack was the latest Harry Potter and the second was our visitors.

Coyote Rising continues the story of the colonists from Earth who escaped the tyrannies of their government to settle the moon of a distant planet. However, while they were traveling at near-relativistic speeds, their government on Earth was overthrown and taken in by a new one, a socialist collective that comprises most of the Americas. Technology has improved, so a ship from this new government arrives on the planet, Coyote, only four years after the original colonists do. The original colonists have established a democracy and do not want to change their way of life. They disappear into the wilds of Coyote and begin a series of guerilla raids.

Some old characters from Coyote return: Robert E. Lee, Carlos Montero, Matriarch Luisa Hernandez. There are some new ones as well, and their stories are woven in. These new colonists have their own reasons for coming to Coyote and their own survival stories. Some of them were originally published as stand-alone short stories and it shows because the integration of these stories into the larger narrative is not as smooth as it could be. The ending has a bit of deus ex machina about it as well.

Because the structure is similar to Coyote (in fact, the divisions in the book are listed as "Book Four" and "Book Five"), Julie D. probably won't like it any better than the first.

Will there be a third book? Mr. Steele leaves the possibility open, although I haven't seen any "test shorts" in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, which is where the short stories have appeared in the past.