Posted by : atcampbell | On : August 17, 2004

Crossfire by Nancy Kress

Twelve people showed up for the discussion of this first book in the Crossfire series. Of those, five had finished it, three had read part of it, and eight had read Kress before.

The book begins when Quakers, Saudis, American Indians, and other groups with enough money to buy passage off a dying Earth colonize a planet they call Greentrees. There they discover puzzling, non-native inhabitants, the Furs, and become embroiled in interstellar war. Besides the usual problems of survival on a new planet, interpersonal tensions and moral and ethical decisions complicate the plot.

This turned out to be another book with a wide range of reader reactions, from love to hate. Kress did write a readable, fun, fast-paced book and pulled out a lot of alligators, keeping the reader from guessing what would come next. However, some of the alligators needed better development. The main characters were complex and faulted, but could have been more sympathetic, though many of us did like the Quaker.

We have read better from Kress, especially Beggars in Spain, and wondered if the death of Charles Sheffield may have affected the evenness of Crossfire. We hope that the next book in the series, Crucible, is up to her previous standards.

After the discussion, we chose seven new books in our never-ending quest for a good read.

— Sandy Kayser