Top positive review
A Great Story
Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2007
Humanity is spread out amongst the stars but the lack of a faster than light drive means that systems are, at best, only loosely connected. Empires have risen and fallen and Armageddon has come to many worlds.
One world is trying to recover from such a catastrophe. It has reached out and colonized a planet in a nearby system. That planet is just self-sufficient enough to try and explore its system. It sends out a mission to explore a world a bit further out and finds a civilization. The civilization is what we would call feudal but it has its surprises.
As the explorers, an archeologist (specializing in recovering technology) and a pilot, await recovery, disaster overtakes their ship. It is destroyed and they are captured by the locals. It is only then that they learn the strange secret of this world. They may be backward in terms of technology but they make up for it with an amazing ability. They are natural teleports.
The explorers, of course, are not. This makes them "witlings", those without the ability to teleport. In this culture, that means that they are fit for little more than slavery. They are desperate to get to the far side of the planet to recover a beacon there and send for help. They realize that with teleportation comes the potential to solve humanity's interstellar problems and a lot is riding on their success. In this mission they are aided by a crown prince, who is also a witling.
There are problems. Massive intrigue is the norm in the prince's court. All factions and foreign powers believe the strangers are the key to power. Teleportation may make some things easy but it is still subject to all sorts of physical laws which make transport directly to the beacon impossible. Also, the local food is toxic.
It's a race against time, well told and well written.