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The Wilding by C.S. Friedman

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Buy The Wilding in the USA - or Buy The Wilding in the UK

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pub: DAW. 440 page hardback. Price: $23.95 (US), $36.00 (CAN). ISBN: 0-7564-0164-X.

check out website: www.dawbooks.com

This is a story set against the background of a universe-wide war between the Azean Empire and Braxi. The two sides have fought for centuries and appear so evenly balanced it seems the war will go on forever. The Braxi have created a ruthless warrior race whilst the Azeans had relied on perfecting the human genome and unleashing the psychic potential of the human mind against their enemies.

Although the Azeans came some two hundred years before, within sight of victory the psychics had proved a fearsome double-edged sword and are now hunted by both powers who fear them and wish to eradicate them. The half-fabled psychics though have proved difficult to locate and raid human space for supplies and people.

One of the story's protagonists, Zara, from the Azean Empire had her twin sister mysteriously stolend there are various false leads and strange events until finally all is revealed.

This was an enjoyable read. It is part mystery and part adventure story. The author skilfully crafts very different and mutually hostile societies. The Azean Empire is rather like a modern fascist state whereas Braxi is a renaissance one with swaggering nobles competing with each other and trying to gain influence with their ruler, who is young and only the third of a new dynasty that rules the Braxi dominions. There are also the more anarchic groupings that operate in the no-mans-land between the competing super-powers as well as the psychics themselves. It is a rich backdrop to the story.

I think if you like large scale space opera you will enjoy this book. As well as there being plenty of action and personal combat rather than space ship to space ship, it does have a definite story with plenty of interesting byways the author will no doubt further explore

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