Jadaira mu T'resa has always been different. On a world inhabited by water-dwellers, an infusion of human DNA allows her to live both on land and in water. As a galactic war comes ever nearer, however, Dair's differences allow her to find a new calling, first as a planetary patrol pilot with other SEALs (surgically enhanced/altered life-forms) protecting K-2, then as part of a rescue squad formed to respond to off-planet casualties.
The entire Bio Rescue project faces opposition from the 'Zangians and the Skartesh, a lupine species fleeing their war-ravaged homeworld for sanctuary on K-2. Facing prejudice from her people and the Skartesh, and the dangers of interstellar rescue missions, Dair risks her life to save a race of people who decry her existence.
Viehl excels at world-building and characterization, bringing the planet K-2 to life and populating it with a diverse cast of native and alien species. Dair is a strong-willed, tough military commander. Supporting characters include Dair's human stepmother, a charismatic Skartesh religious leader, and a loner 'Zangian who wants Dair as his mate. A rousing adventure tale mixed with space opera and a bit of romance, this is a fast, enthralling read that leaves behind a strong message about tolerance and open-mindedness. (Jul., 320 pp., $22.95)
Jen Talley Exum