Kemlo and Krillie, together with Krillie’s sister Krinsetta, set out for a visit to S Belt in Kemlo’s space scooter. They are attacked by three boys from S Belt, who kidnap Krinsetta. Kemlo gives chase, and both his and the other craft are forced down, off course, on to the Zones of Silence, part of a large area known as the Dead World where the slightest whisper is magnified into a roar…
The inhabitants of the Zones have no audible form of speech, but use instead a highly developed system of thought transference. These creatures are friendly, but too friendly: they attempt to drug the minds of visitors with thought impulses compelling them to stay on the Zones. Kemlo is able to resist this powerful impulse, but…
Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind’s potential is determined by its location in space – from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these ‘zones of thought’, but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artefact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.
Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines – an alien race with a harsh medieval culture – and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue party, not entirely composed of humans, must free the children – and retrieve a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.
Sometimes the greatest sin is survival.
The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has barely survived cataclysms from without and within. Now, riding the shock wave of a nova blast toward an uncertain destiny, the damaged ship – the only world its inhabitants have ever known – remains a war zone. Even as Perceval, the new captain, struggled to come to terms with the traumas of her past, the remnants of rebellion aboard the ship still threaten the crew’s survival.
Yet as Perceval’s relatives Tristen and Benedick play a deadly game of cat and mouse in pursuit of a traitor through a cast ship that is renewing itself in strange and dangerous ways, an even more insidious threat is building in a place no one ever thought to look. And this implacable enemy could change the face of the ship forever if a ragtag band of heroes cannot stop it.
Originally published in 2010 as Chill.