Grail

Elizabeth Bear, Spectra, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-0-553-59109-5
This deftly told story completes the Jacob's Ladder trilogy begun in Dust and Chill. The Conns and the other inhabitants of an ancient wandering spaceship face their last and greatest challenge. They've finally found a habitable planet, but others beat them to it: "right-minded" humans, surgically altered to achieve emotional balance, and more alien to the Jacobites than extraterrestrials would be. Leaders on both ship and planet are willing to fight and kill to keep the two cultures from interacting, while old enemies aboard the Jacob's Ladder re-emerge to wreak destruction. The story is poised on a knife's edge, with the Jacobites facing both possible annihilation and inner demons just as they're closing in on their goal. Bear's talent for portraying cultural divergence and conflict is especially apparent in this intense wrapup. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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