Riders of the Storm
Julie E. Czerneda
Daw, Sep 2008, $24.95
On the planet Cersi lives three very distinct sentient species. The Oud reside under the earth tunneling to where they want to go and have the ability to restore clan lands; the impoverish Om’ray can pass as human and have psi power so that all in a clan are interconnected; finally the Tikitik are by far the most feral. All three species adhere to the Agreement, which demands they keep their society stagnant and stay inside their assigned areas except during the Passage if they are to have peace. Aryl the Om’ray is a person with tremendous power, but was exiled by her Yena clan for developing a new talent that upset the delicate balance and broke the Agreement and almost the clan.
Her followers left with her hoping she would start a new clan. They travel to the mountains and settle in the place where the ruins of the village of Sona are. Aryl’s people want to settle here and begin a new clan with her as their leader. While people are forced to come to Sona by the Oud leaders, Enris Mendolar of Tuana clan learns of a new clan in the wilds of the mountains. However when he finds them he learns they discourage visitors and he barely escapes with his life. He is the man Aryl wants, but first she must set guidelines for her new clan so that everyone is treated better and know how to live free of the rule makers.
Julie E. Czerneda is a first class world builder as she creates the earlier years on Cersi with characters from three differing species and diverse cultures living in peaceful coexistence when the Trade Pact humans arrive. RIDERS OF THE STORM is filled with plenty of action and deep characterizations so that the audience will feel the author is a tour guide showing off a real world with genuine races and cultures. However, the bottom line in the Stratification “pre” saga remains Aryl who was coming of age in REAP THE WILD WIND when she shook the foundation of the Agreement, but now is coming of power as she tries to do the right thing for her people.