The Gate to Futures Past
by Julie E. Czerneda
Daw, $26.00, 394 pages
Published: September 2016
I’ve been reading all the books leading up to this latest one. If you want to read earlier reviews: First Trilogy: Click here for a review of A Thousand Words for Stranger, and here for Ties of Power and here for To Trade the Stars. Second Trilogy: Click here for Reap the Wild Wind. And here for Riders of the Storm. And here for Rift in the Sky. And the last trilogy is here for This Gulf of Time and Stars.
At the end of the last book, Sira desperately reached out for help to save her people and the Sona cloisters answered. For, as it turns out, the Cloisters were actually an ancient starship. And when Sona answered Sira’s plea she asked to go home. And Sona took them there. But Sira and Morgan, while experienced spacefarers, have no control over the ship and their attempts to question the ship tends to trigger unexpected responses. Their people are exhausted and demoralized with all they have survived. And some of them are…failing. Some of their people are disappearing into the M’hir and taking their Chosen with them. Sira is desperate to find a cure and save the ones left. But it appears the only thing that will save them all is an end to the journey; to reach their destination. But Morgan is worried; the ship is ancient and the communication codes the ship intends to use when reaching their destination may not elicit the correct response. Without a correct response, the ship may not allow them to leave; may, in fact, destroy them all.
Their arrival isn’t what Morgan and Sira hoped for and there were more casualties, causing Sira increasing despair; bringing her closer to the same end afflicting so many of their clan. Meeting the planet’s inhabitants only caused more concern with whether they can be honest about who they are and where they came from. But that wasn’t the real problem; some of the inhabitants knew exactly who they were and where they came from. The problem was proving to the authorities that the experiment on Cersi was a success. Crisis comes when Sira completes their test, activating an ancient Hoveny device that reached into the M’hir…with disastrous results. Sira discovers just exactly why her people are dying and why the m’hir is the cause. She then has to understand what the m’hir really is, what their origins mean, and then decide the fate of all her people. And it is NOT anything I expected. It’s a real game-changer. I am amazed at the idea that there is yet another story following this.
Czerneda’s skill at storytelling just gets better with each successive story. This has been a tremendous epic. Her characters are the best of the story, even the supporting characters are well-done. Her worldbuilding isn’t fantasy-epic but is sufficient to the story. So looking forward to the last book but a little sad at the thought this journey is finally ending. ~~ Catherine Book