COYOTE HORIZON by Allen M. Steele
“He knew that it wouldn’t be long before Joe discovered that he was gone. Indeed, the parole officer was probably already on his way to Hawk’s apartment; once he used his badge to get the landlord to unlock his door, Bairns would find the flat just as he’d last seen it, excerpt for the severed bracelet and discarded patch lying on the table. But the dresser would be empty and a bag would be missing, and the only other evidence that Hawk had once lived there would be his customs uniform, neatly folded on his bed.
… As the fishing boat sailed out into the harbor, Hawk took a moment to gaze back at New Brighton. One last look, then he deliberately turned away from its tenements and smoke. “
Review by Ann Wilkes (MAY 27, 2010)
Coyote Horizon continues the story of the human settlers on Coyote, a moon of the planet Bear in the 47 Ursae Majoris system. Hawk Thompson, nephew of former president, Carlos Montero, is on parole after spending time in jail for killing his abusive father. As the story opens, he has a boring, dead-end job as customs inspector at the spaceport. “His name was Hawk Thompson, and he’d killed his father. And now he was waiting to die.” That line cracked me up. I’m guessing Steele is a fellow Princess Bride fan.
Hawk’s job becomes more bearable when he has someone to go home to: Melissa, a neighbor he met when he rescued her from a beating.
Carlos Montero asks Hawk to conduct his customs inspection of the hjadd Cultural Ambassador near his ship rather than in the terminal like the average traveler. With his boss’ permission, he meets the ambassador with his uncle a short distance from his ship.
That short meeting with the alien changes the course of Hawk’s life. The hjadd ambassador gives him a book, the Sa’ Tong, which is an interactive manual to the philosophical beliefs of the hjadd and most star faring peoples in that part of the galaxy.
Hawk invites Melissa to join him in his search for guidance to deal with his new found knowledge. His mission intersects with that of a small group led by Joseph Walking Star Cassidy. Walking Star and his associates created a remote commune where, with the help of the indigenous pseudowasps, they have learned telepathy. It is Walking Star who explains to Hawk that by giving the Sa’ Tong to him, the emissary was choosing him to be the chaaz’ maha, the spiritual teacher who would bring those beliefs to humanity.
While Hawk is becoming the chaaz’ maha, several main characters join an Exploratory Expedition to circumnavigate the planet on its Great Equatorial River. Steele draws their fates together, but is clearly not done with them. The story continues in Coyote Destiny.
Unrest on Earth results in an influx of immigrants from Earth that Coyote is not prepared to adequately feed and shelter. The people of Coyote must welcome refugees from the very Union on Earth which refused to recognize its sovereignty.
Coyote Horizon is a space western rich in atmosphere, with believable characters who adapt and evolve. If Coyote were a real place, I’d be on the next transport. And I’d know my way around and recognize some of the locals. Steele creates a world I love to immerse myself in.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 9 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Ace; Reprint edition (January 26, 2010)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Allen M. Steele|
Ann Wilkes’ interview with Allen M. Steele
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||More Space Travel:
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Mars Life by Ben Bova
- The Jericho Iteration (1994)
- The Tranquility Alternative (1995)
- Oceanspace (2000)
- Chronospace (2001)
Near Space Series:
- Orbital Decay (1989)
- Clarke County, Space (1990)
- Lunar Descent (1991)
- Labyrinth of Night (1992)
- The Weight: Novella (1995)
- A King of Infinite Space (1997)
- The River Horses: Novella (2007)