vrijdag 1 oktober 2010

Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough – Changelings

Book one in the Twins of Petaybee trilogy.

Ronan and Murel are the twins of Yana Maddock and Sean Shongili, Born on Petaybee, their destiny is intertwined with that of the planet. Like their father, Ronan and Murel can transform into seals. They can also communicate telepathically with the planet’s creatures.

After their transformation is witnessed by a visiting scientist, the twins face great danger and need a refuge where they can escape capture. Meanwhile Petaybee is changing – and much faster than an ordinary planet’s natural evolution. A new landmass suddenly rises from the depts. Of the sea and Sean heads out to investigate it. But the newly unstable region holds the potential for disaster …

A great sequel to the first trilogy, which I absolutely loved.

Ronan and Murel are born with the ability to shift into seals, or, selkies. They grow up very fast, and go swimming in the icy river as often as they can. Guarded by the two large cats. But they cannot follow them into the water, diving and playing. So they mostly look out that their charges are not seen by other humans. But then, a few days before their eight birthday, they swim farther then before, and encounter a friendly otter. A new friend to play with! Which is very welcome, as their father has less and less time to go with them. His job as governor of the planet takes all his time, and their mothers as well.
Playing with their new friend and his large otter family, they get attacked by wolves. They manage to save the otters, and are about to be eaten themselves, when their aunt arrives with the big cats and save them.
Unfortunately, they were also seen changing from seal into human by some illegal scientist, studying the otters. And that very same day, the otters are captured, all except their friend, who comes to warn them and ask for their help saving his family. So the otters are saved by the local authorities (who are most of the people I got to know in the previous books), but Ronan and Murel are in great danger. Even though the scientists are thrown off planet, they got here before, they can come back, and worse, tell others about the children. So they are packed of planet, to stay on a big space station with their parents friend Marmie.
There they learn to use modern technology, which doesn’t work very well on Petaybee, go to school and make new friends. Classmates from all over the universe. They can swim in the large pool Marmie had created, but no one can ever know about their changing. So no swim parties with their friends unfortunately.  At first they think it will be for a short time, but the years keep passing, with less and less contact with their parents, due to atmospheric conditions on Petaybee.

Until the new science teacher arrives, making Ronan one of her favourites, asking him to help her after classes. She is horrible to her own grandson and his parents, but o so nice and patience with Ronan. The he sees her pocketing a cloth with Murel’s blood on it. Can she see in their blood that they are not fully human? So they ask their father, but an answer doesn’t come straight away.

Their father went exploring the new volcano in the southern part of the ocean, in selkie form. Now he is missing, and no one can find any trace of him. Only the children’s otter friend keeps appearing, but there is no one left who can communicate with him.
So finally the children are brought back from Petaybee. Not only to find their father, but also to keep them save from their teacher, who managed to escape capture.
After a few years on a space station, Petaybee has changed a lot. But at last they can swim in a real river again. And find their father, and perhaps more than they expected…

Yes, a great new tale, and I am sure looking forward to the next book. Of course, it are the children who are the main characters, and I do prefer the adults. But they are very good characterized, their twin bonds, their telepathy and their animal friends.

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