by Sarah Zettel
A special collection bringing together four of Sarah Zettel’s captivating novels that span the galaxy
In Fool’s War, Katmer Al Shei has done well with the starship Pasadena, cutting corners where necessary to keep her crew paid and her journeys profitable. But there are two things she will never skimp on: her crew—and her fool. For a long space journey, a certified Fool’s Guild clown is essential, to amuse, excite, and otherwise distract the crew from the drudgeries of interstellar flight. Her newest fool, Evelyn Dobbs, is a talented jester. But does she have enough wit to save mankind?
In Playing God, the planet of the Dedelphi has been riven by war for two centuries. Though delicate, swanlike creatures, the planet’s natives are fierce in battle, and their ceaseless conflict has reduced their world to a wasteland. To save themselves and their world, the Dedelphi have forged a fragile peace and called for outside intervention. The Earth corporation Bioverse constructs a plan to heal the shattered planet. It’s the most ambitious engineering project the universe has ever seen, and if it backfires, the result will almost certainly be genocide.
In The Quiet Invasion, Dr. Helen Failia is nearing middle age at eighty-three, but has lost none of her fighting spirit. The founder of Earth’s first fully functioning colony on Venus, she will do anything to ensure that the home she’s built and nurtured not only survives, but thrives. Despite her constant work, funding for the colony is running out, and she’s dreading telling the ten thousand colonists they must move to Earth, a world some of them have never even seen. When one of her probes returns with the unprecedented proof of an ancient alien artifact on the surface of Venus she cannot believe her luck. This is the first evidence that humanity is not alone, and the discovery will surely secure the research colony’s future.
In Reclamation, Eric Born knows his way around the universe. He’s a quick-thinking merchant blessed with natural telekinetic skill. He’s also that rarest of creatures, a human being. Humans have been scattered across the universe, powerless and oppressed, dispersed so widely that no one knows what planet they first came from. Eric survives by selling his talents to the mysterious galactic tyrants known as the Rhudolant Vitae, but has never forgotten he belongs to the human race, and the distant world, the Realm of the Nameless Powers. The Realm may be a backwater, but Eric will do anything to protect his home from the merciless and powerful Vitae.
The only thing the four books in this collection have in common is the author. It’s not a series; there’s no overlap. I read them all sequentially just because it was easier. I liked all four books. Interesting worlds, interesting characters, though none deeply drawn. The focus was more on different societies and how they interact rather than about individuals and their interactions. Nothing earth shattering, but good.