SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1581 Terra Insegura, by Edward Willett Book Review |

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Terra Insegura, by Edward Willett
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2009
Review Posted: 9/14/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Terra Insegura, by Edward Willett

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

Terra Insegura is the second book included in the omnibus edition titled the Helix War, which also includes the first book Marseguro. I have the separate books, but I dove right into Terra Insegura immediately after finishing the first book. Not that the first book ended on a cliffhanger--it was a fully resolved book--but because the premise and the "hook" at the end of the first book demanded I read more. *grin*

The premise is book two requires a little spoilerage of book one, so if you haven't read that one yet, you may want to stop reading now. In Marseguro, the genetically modified amphibious Selkies, along with their creator Victor Hansen and a slew of unmodified humans, escaped the persecution of the religious group the Body Unified by fleeing to a new planet they dubbed Marseguro. They successfully hid there for 50 years, until one of the unmodified humans, Chris Keating, activated a signal. The Body Purified attacked the unprepared planet in an attempt to purify it of the monsters created by genetic manipulation, but the Selkies fought back, creating a plague that kills all unmodified humans unless they've been inoculated. In the chaos of the battles, Chris Keating is inoculated and ends up on one of the Body Purified ships. The plague spreads, wiping out all of the Body Purified, including those on the ship containing Chris Keating. The only problem is, Chris is a carrier of the plague . . . and the ship is headed back to Earth, where the plague will wipe out humanity.

Terra Insegura begins with Richard Hanson--a clone of Victor Hansen, with his memories implanted with a gene-bomb--and a crew of mixed Selkies and humans from Marseguro are headed back to Earth with the inoculation in hopes of saving humanity from Chris Keating's arrival. But what will they find when they arrive? Will the Body Purified have contained the plague, or will it have been released on the unsuspecting population? And if it has gotten out of containment on the ship, how devastating will the plague be? Regardless of what's happened, the crew from Marseguro intends to help in whatever way they can. They never intended the plague to escape beyond their own planet.

I'll start by saying that I thought this book was much better than the first, which I enjoyed well enough already. This second book was more convoluted, with multiple points of view scattered to the four winds and space beyond, all of them with their own motivations and personal conflicts. If you recall my review of Marseguro, I emphasized the fact that the best part of the book, for me, was the characters, and those strong characterizations continue here. The plot was also more convoluted and involved loyalty, betrayal, action in space, battles on land, torture, and so many twists and turns I lost count. I wasn't sure how to classify the first book or this one--it's not really hard SF, nor it is military SF, although it has aspects of both. Someone suggested it was space opera, but I didn't think it fit that description (at least my definition of space opera) either, although that's the closest probably. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would have read a third book if there was one.

So, final thought on this is that if you'd like a light military SF novel, or a light SF novel, or perhaps a slight tweak on space opera, then you should definitely pick up The Helix War and check it out, keeping in mind that I think the second book is much fuller and richer than the first.
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