Apes and Angels: Star Quest #2
Tor, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
pes and Angels
as the second in Ben Bova's
trilogy. In the trilogy's precursor novel,
, an alien AI that informed humans of a black hole explosion sending a lethal gamma radiation wave through the Milky Way towards Earth. These Predecessors '
enlisted the help of Earth's humankind in their ongoing race against the death wave
', in return for technology to shield the solar system and to build spaceships.
Apes and Angels
, readers join a crew (almost twelve hundred scientists and engineers led by Adrian Kosoff) on the starship Odysseus to the red dwarf star Mithra. The mission objective is to save any intelligent life found on the planets around it. Two seem worth investigating - there are tentacled octopus-like creatures in the oceans of Mithra Alpha; and Mithra Gamma hosts pre-industrial humanoids living in scattered villages.
he story's lead is young anthropology team member Brad MacDaniels, a damaged loner who follows his own drummer. Brad falls hard for biologist Felicia Portman and it's reciprocated, despite the fact that Kosoff has his eye on her too. Kosoff's jealousy causes him to send Brad alone to study the Alpha octopods. He reluctantly accepts his exile and works hard to make sense of their language.
s he continues to demonstrate outside-the-box thinking, Brad is assigned the task of developing a plan to contact the Gamma humanoids - and then is sent down (on his own again) to execute it. When he does succeed in communicating, they tell him of the upcoming Death time; monsters from Beta; and the function of their
. His role quickly changes from anthropologist to defender
ammans tell Brad that Sky Masters set up this death cycle in the distant past. They are sure the Masters will be back - and won't be happy over what has transpired. Have the humans just started an interstellar war? Guess we'll have to wait for book three to find out!
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