CHILDREN OF HOPE by David Feintuch
Ace Books, April 2001
Terry Carr is an impulsive 14-year old with a knack for finding and creating disaster everywhere he goes. He insults the Bishop, threatening the delicate balance between the civil and church governments, tries to kill the naval captain, disobeys just about everyone's orders, and thrusts his planet into civil war and a war between the species. Yet Terry means well and may just be the only person who can save Hope Nation--or completely destroy it.
David Feintuch has created a rich society and history. Hope Nation is independent, yet its trade and religion are still dominated by Earth and its economy is still recovering from the genocidal war with the 'fish.' Powerful forces are trying to force Hope back into the U.N., and the Planter's Council walks a fine line between capitulation and excommunication. A 14-year old with an attitude problem and a mouth that talks before his brain clicks in is exactly what it doesn't need. Without his father to guide him, Terry is a menace to himself and his society.
Captain Nick Seafort is the stable force around which Carr's frantic activities center. Hero of the war against the fish, former secretary-general of the United Nations, and now leader of a powerful U.N. warship in Hope Nation's skys, Seafort plays a vital role in determining the society's future, but his choices are constantly narrowed by Carr's activities. A grudging affection grows between these two vastly different characters.
It would have been nice to see a little more learning on the part of Terry Carr. Despite the disasters and near-disasters he creates by his impulsive behavior, he seems completely unable to control himself. Similarly, Feintuch's presentation of Seafort as completely honorable makes him a bit of a caricature, lacking the fully rounded and appearance of a believable character. It may be that Feintuch chose to write about a younger generation of characters specifically because Seafort has completed his development as a character through this impressive series.
CHILDREN OF HOPE is a fast-paced and action-filled novel set in a well crafted universe.
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