Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes
Tor, Aug 2009, $14.99
Upon their arrival on Avalon the Earth Born never fully recovered from the extended hibernation whereas their Star Born children have thrived. The Earth Born have not forgotten their near extinction when they cavalierly tried to colonize the mainland, but almost were left extinct by the monsters as they fled like rats off a sinking ship during the Grendel Wars (see THE LEGACY OF HEOROT); only fast action by Cadmann Wayland saved them. Now young adults the Star Born discuss a second invasion, but while their collective parents object, the youngsters feel they have the intelligence to succeed and dub the elders as cowards.
The Star Born have a leader Aaron Tragon, who has no connection to any of the Earth Born; being more removed than his peers who in a collective sense feel for the brain damaged elders. Aaron uses abuse and cruelty to obtain authorization of an invading force to take the mainland. Now the hero of the first Grendel War and his opponent pushing a second war amplify the generational divide; their respective actions will cause further schism amongst the humans as the Grendel monsters remain on the mainland that the colonists desire.
The story line starts slow with the Star Born debating what to do about their increasingly feeble parents, but that dialogue is what makes the reprint so timely; due to the false accusations that health care reform includes death squads from those hypocrites who until recently fully supported end of life counseling. The storyline accelerates when Aaron and to a lesser degree Cadmann take control of the plot. The Grendels are a much more fascinating species than they were portrayed in THE LEGACY OF HEOROT; especially with the improbable climax. Still fans will enjoy this social commentary in space that seems as apropos as it was in 1995 when health care reform was debated.