Exodus: The Ark
Baen, Nov 2009, $16.00
The earth was nearly extinct when the Ark was launched on a ten thousand year trek to another star system. However the desperate designers had not considered the mental state of those on board after centuries have passed since the chosen departure. Those descendants by Shipyear 3809 are clueless that they ride a humongous space ship. Instead the Prophetsy evolved as a terrorizing theocracy.
Although most people live in fear as slaves with a few masters, some of the oppressed remain mentally strong. Danil has spent his life in bondage, but believes the time to overthrow the brutal despots is coming and he plans to be part of the liberation. Annaya, the daughter of the ruler the Prophet Polldor, detests the primogeniture male only system that prevents her being next in line though she feels superior in every sense than the heir apparent her brother Olen. Her father plans to marry her to the best ally, but had not considered thedesire of his offspring to become the next ruler although only a male heir can become the next Prophet. Instead of a dutiful marriage Annaya plots to overthrow both her father and the Prophetsy itself. Olen agrees to support his sibling’s plan to overthrow their father, but assumes he will sit on the throne.
The exciting second Exodus science fiction (see Genesis) with a twisting nod to Macbeth is fast-paced though not quite faster than the speed of light. The theocratic two caste culture of ruling and slave classes on board the Ark is an entertaining look at societal development in an enclosed environment; a sort of island in space. The prime three protagonists are fascinating though none developed beyond their intense interrelationship with the other two. Still fans will enjoy riding along on Paul Chafe’s Ark several centuries of generations after the original pioneers left the doomed planet earth.