May 1, 2012

Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle

Title:  Golden Witchbreed
Author:  Mary Gentle
Format: PB
Pages:  478

Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Signet, 1985
ISBN-13:    978-0451136060     
Series:  Golden Witchbreed, Book 1

Favorite Quotes:  For my part, I prefer aliens that look alien.  Then when they eat their first-born, or turn arthropod halfway through their life-cycle, it isn't so much of a shock.  You expect it.  Humanoid aliens, they're trouble.

"Christie," he said, "are we to be arykei?"

"I wanted to know if you'd come.  You understand me, Christie, better than my own people.  Did the Goddess birth us on the wrong worlds, do you think?"

Synopsis (PBS):  Orthe - -half-civilized, half-barbaric, home to human-like beings who live and die by the code of the sword. Earth envoy Lynne Christie has been sent here to establish contact and to determine whether this is a world worth developing. But first Christie must come to understand that human-like is not and never can be human, and that not even Orthe's leaders can stop the spread of rumors about her, dark whisperings that could cost Christie her life.

And on a goodwill tour to the outlying provinces, these evil rumors turn to deadly accusations. Christie is no off-worlder, Church officials charge: she is a treacherous and cunning descendant of Orthe's legendary Golden Witchbreed -- the cruel, ruthless race that once enslaved the whole planet. Suddenly Christie finds herself a hunted fugitive on an alien world, where friend and foe on alike may prove her lies in saving Orthe itself from a menace older than time.....

Review:  This is one of my all-time favorite Science Fiction novels.  I can't believe I've never read a novel by this author.  I will be reading many more of her stories, I'm sure of that.  The details and the characters are just incredible.

This story takes you deep into another world, another culture.  The Ortheans are so like us and so not like us.  It's an amazing ride and the paradox just makes it more so.  I want to go there and see the bright sun on the city of Tathcaer and ride a marhaz through the land.  I want to learn to play ochmir.  In other words, I want this story to be true.  I am starting the second (and, sadly, last) book in this series today.

Rating:  10 / 10

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