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Marilee J. Layman

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11:11 pm: Forge of Heaven by C.J. Cherryh
This is a sequel to Hammerfall, but many centures in the future. I didn't like Hammerfall very much, but this is a much better book. In the beginning, there's a 12-page history section, of which two pages are about Hammerfall, so you don't actually have to read that book at all. When she started on the history, I thought "a Venn diagram would be better" and what do you know -- the section called Positional Map is a Venn diagram.

There's some plot with the Immortals down on the planet, but most of it is on a station above the world that has two types of humans plus the aliens.

There are "taps" -- people who can hear someone else's voice -- who, in three shifts, are constantly with the Immortals. They can give them information from satellites so they know what's happening with the weather and the continuing changes to the world. Basically, they become help to the Immortals. The daytime tap for Marak, the hero of the other book, is named Procyon and Marak picked him personally.

An Earther ship lands at the station out of cycle and turns out to have an ambassador, in a quarantine carrier because they're afraid of the Outsiders, who wants to talk to Procyon. In the beginning, this doesn't seem to be such a problem, but when he does visit the ambassador, someone launches a rocket at them.

The various governments, layers of the station, spies, and taps are all full of intrigue, back-stabbing, and disaster. Then the alien steps in.

I really liked this book and highly recommend it. You don't have to read the first one.

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