Landon’s latest is a tale of human/alien first contact gone horribly awry. Set in the distant future, the people of Earth face environmental disasters, while the governing body keeps quiet the likelihood of an alien attack. Except for the opening chapter on the spaceship, the action takes place planetside, where Landon’s worldbuilding skills shine. While the action is strictly between the humans and the natives, the setting is easy to envision and believe, but the Destroyers’ base is a less successful setting. The native people are intelligent humanoids, but the author’s descriptions of them bring to mind images of Chewbacca, and the Destroyers are never seen. Overall, this isn’t a necessarily happy story, but it is satisfying and leaves wide the possibilities for the next book.
Dispatched from Earth to find information to defeat an unknown space-faring race that threatens, only three of the 16 crew survive to awake after 40 years of cryogenic sleep. With one shot at survival, they select a landing spot on the planet known as Windhome and meet Kelru. Taken as prisoners to a matriarchal stronghold run by Kelru’s mother, they discover they are not welcome. The Destroyers came from the skies and destroyed all advanced technology; the people live in conditions similar to the middle ages. Led by Pierre, Anke and Vika are determined to find out what and who these Destroyers are and get the information back to Earth at all cost. With Kelru’s aid, they survive the harsh conditions for which they are unprepared and learn the local language and customs. But the costs of their mission are high, and sacrifices must be made. (CANDLEMARK & GLEAM, Dec., 346 pp., $20.95)