"Fascinating Multi-Layered Fantasy"
Nolan Adelpho and Kitrini Candachi were both born into the
upper echelon of the Indigo culture, both members of the
Higher Hundred of the blueskin race. The Indigo hold the
power in this country, because they own all the arable
land. The Higher Hundred are the cream of the high-caste
Indigo. They are a matriarchal society in which the women
make the major decisions, own and inherit the property. The
males are expected to make a good match, be a good husband
Nolan had accepted his lot in life; he'd been affianced to
the woman of his mother's choosing 15 years ago at age 14.
This is a woman he loves and who loves him. In the
intervening years he'd been allowed to attend college and
amuse himself working as a biologist at a city laboratory,
he had resigned himself to the fact that this would only be
a brief interlude in his life. Yet he's been enlightened in
many ways. His colleagues are a mixed group and though
naturally the lab is run by a high-caste Indigo woman, his
immediate superior is a gulden male, Pakt.
To Nolan and his people this golden-skinned gulden race is
inferior. The males are aggressive, the women submissive.
They hold the key to technology but little land, yet he has
developed a deep respect for Pakt and other guldmen in the
laboratory. His own specialty is the gulden immune system.
He has developed several medications for viruses, which
only affect the gulden. The reader will she him as kind and
passive, but sense that questions are beginning to surface
from deep within his mind. His relationship with his
fianc»e is merely comfortable, familiar, not stimulating.
Kitrini Candachi, outwardly an Indigo, member of a higher
hundred family (on her mother's side and that's all that
counts) has flouted convention all her life, as had her
father and grandfather before her. Raised on
Gold Mountain, she is a gulden sympathizer. Even worse she
is the lover of the gulden chief's son, the radical Jex
Zanlan who is in prison for bombing an Indigo facility.
Though the gulden chief has loved Kit more than a daughter
he too is opposed to any permanent relationship between her
and his heir. The resulting quarrel had sent Kit back in-
country from Gold Mountain. To her credit, though rigid in
her Indigo beliefs, Kitrini's grandmother takes her back
in. Kit finds it hardly bearable.
This pair would seem to have little in common, but
startling revelations send both of their world's off
kilter. Neither can accept the lengths to which the leaders
of the races would go to, to ensure racial superiority.
Both will have cause to question their loyalties, both will
have to reassess their beliefs, both will have to assume
grave risks to serve the cause of right, both will have to
search their hearts to learn what true courage is and who
is worthy of their love.
Though this story is categorized as Science Fiction, this
fascinating study of sociology is laced with a very special
relationship as Kitrini and Nolan are thrown together by
fate. The growth of these characters is extraordinary. At
first Nolan seems a submissive drone, perhaps even wimpy,
content to be taken care of, to be a consort for the
remainder of his adult life. Yet as he experiences the
world he begins to question. It's a slow process, there is
much that goes against conditioning, but he is pure of
heart and when push comes to shove he becomes the material
that true heroes are made of, a one in a million man -- and
using his brain and his heart instead of his might.
Kitrini seems to be a spoiled brat, but she too has a sound
mind and as events unfold she begins to follow her head
rather than her heart to realize that perhaps her loyalty
is misplaced. But can her heart remain detached, in close
proximity to a man who could be truly worthy of her respect
and her love?
This story has so many levels it simply boggles the mind. I
haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Not a light
read but one that is sure to fascinate. I will be looking
for more of Ms. Shinn's work to be sure.
Copyright © 2000
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 7, 2001