||It's really hard to get a good sense
of this series of books. When it is complete, I will certainly need to
reread it as chapters in a single book, not a bunch of short books like
Precipice and Skyborn
and this one. I
think it will be more than it seems right now.
When Omen crashed on Kesh, it had a
variety of species on board, including Massassi, native Red Sith, and
humans. The Massassi died within hours of being exposed to Kesh. Fifteen
years later, there are fifty seven Sith left, and a bunch of human Sith,
ruled by Korsin -and his brother's widow Seelah.
The story takes place from Seelah's
point of view, as she washes and is served by her Keshiri slave Tilden,
then goes to the main hall, where Korsin seems to sit like a king,
listening to various pleas at his leisure. Many of his people, Gloyd and
the Red Sith Ravilan, have devised various ways to get off the planet,
but to no avail. Gloyd advocates using the rest of their battery power,
which is almost used up. Ravilan is more crafty. He is sent out to
various population centers, but within a day, one of the towns is
utterly destroyed, and Ravilan is the only one alive.
This disturbs the Sith greatly, as
there appears to be a toxin that can kill even humans here. While Korsin
took walks at the beginning of this story with Adari Vaal, all the
Keshiri are now banned from the Sith fortress.
When Seelah discovers symptoms she
recognizes in the one human who died in the village, she goes back to
the fortress to investigate. I didn't see her treachery coming, and it
was brilliant in its execution. Seelah has been the chief of the nursery
for all these years, killing all who don't seem powerful or full-blood
human enough. She has not allowed any of the Red Sith babies to live.
She exposes Ravilan's plan to Korsin as
other towns are wiped out in the area that the various Red Sith visited
days ago. When exposed, it is obvious that Ravilan was desperate to
bring all the Sith together and reduce their dependence on the Keshiri,
and concentrate on getting off the planet rather than settling down.
Seelah has, however, secretly taken the plan one step
further: she seeded the poison into the other towns, so that Korsin
would hunt down and kill all the Red Sith. She exposes her plan to
Ravilan (and the readers) just before her teenaged son kills him.
In the denouement of the book, a
resistance movement including Adari and Tilden is revealed. Given the
nature of the series and the Fate of the Jedi, I'm guessing that it
fails, but maybe it ends up striking a balance.
Once again the characters, in this case
Seelah, are very well developed, and the story is tightly woven,
especially given its brevity. When they entered into this alliance,
Korsin and Seelah didn't trust each other, but over fifteen years,
Korsin has grown soft, but Seelah hasn't. She's biding her time until
she eventually takes over the new tribe. In effect, she already has,
exercising power over the young. When the time comes, I have no doubt
she will prevail over Korsin, unless the Keshiri overwhelm her. They
must know she is infinitely worse than Korsin as a leader.