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MAELSTROM by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough


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Science Fiction Book Club

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It seems like just yesterday that the Shongili twins, Ronan and Murel, returned from their stay at Marmie Algemeine's space-station school. Now the telepathic, shapeshifting 10-year-olds are about to venture into space again, this time as ambassadors aboard the Piaf on a mission to convince the colonists on the planet Halau to resettle on Petaybee. Halau is a bleak, uninhabitable world, and the colonists have been placed there by InterGalactic Enterprises to ensure a supply of desperate people for jobs nobody else wants.

But the Piaf no sooner enters Halua space than the crew discovers the planet is under siege. Not by warfare, but by its own place in its solar system. For Halua is orbiting within an asteroid field, with meteor storms the order of the day. A particularly violent one is underway—and threatening to pulverize the settlement.

Appalled by a nearby InterGal ship, which in its open hostility to the relocation effort refuses to aid the rescue, the crew of the Piaf risks the unstable network of volcanic tunnels to which the settlers have fled and brings them safely back to Petaybee, where the sentient planet has prepared an island expressly to welcome them.

But resettling the refugees may not be as easy as planned, for their new locale is already occupied—by a race of aliens who could be friends…but might well be foes. Jacket art by Chris Spollen (237 pp.) 2006.

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