Monday, March 3

Fossil Hunter - Robert J Sawyer

Toroca is a geologist, leader of the Geological Survey of the Land, which currently involves the exploration of fossils in a cliff face on the edge of Fra-toolar province. He is also the son of blind sage Sal-Afsan and scientist (and far-seer inventor) Wab-Novato, which makes him almost unique in a society where none but members of the royal family know who their parents are. He is also unique, though he takes pains to hide it, in another respect - unlike all other Quintaglios, he has no territoriality: he can approach another Quintaglio without any risk of going into dagamant, the killing frenzy triggered by proximity to another person.
Of more immediate concern, however, is Toroca's observations of strange, flightless wing-fingers that live on the ice of the south pole, lead him to a breathtaking theory - creatures can change form over time. But the amount of time must be staggeringly longer than received belief that the world was created five thousand kilodays ago, when God laid Her eight eggs of creation.
Consistant with the opening book of Sawyer's magnificent Quintaglio Ascention trilogy, Toroca stands in for Darwin, and meets similar resistance to his heretical theory (though, as in so many other things, Quintaglios are a little more advanced than humans, and manage to come around quite quickly). Fossil Hunter builds on the foundations laid in Far-Seer, both in terms of plot and in the rich lushness of detail. There are substantial secondary plots, and the groundwork is set for the final chapter. This is a truly satisfying read. - Alex

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