This is our novel that I read for my Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club Meeting tomorrow night (March 10th, 2015). It has to do with treachery, love, displacement, and travel through space, and contains several interesting concepts. I thought it a good book, although not a great one.
On a fairly wretched planet, in an area known as the Wasteland, are a group of men and women from Earth. For reasons they have never been able to figure out, the first two of them, Jack and Kitty Reed (a brother and sister) suddenly appeared there from 1870s California some twenty-six years ago; subsequent arrivals are also from the United States, but each of them is from a later time than the one before. Each of them was a killer before turning into an involuntary Arrival, and when they die, in six days they come back good as new – except when they don’t. Sometimes, inexplicably to the Arrivals, someone dies and does not come back, which usually means that another Arrival is due to arrive.
The original Arrivals work as troubleshooters for the Governor of the Wastelands, who is based in Covenant; there is a lot of trouble to take care of, as the planet is home to demons and evil monks (who work together) and any number of vicious creatures. The task of the Arrivals is not helped by Ajani, a shadowy figure who is amassing all of the wealth and influence of the Wasteland to himself. He does his best to lure the Arrivals to his service, with the promise that they will always come back when they die, which they do. On the other hand, the original Arrivals have the help of the bloedzuigers, who are a blood-sucking sentient race. Finally, of all of the Arrivals since the beginning, only Kitty Reed can work magic, which means she is constantly enticed by Ajani to join up with him.
As the book begins, there are five Arrivals with Jack and Kitty Reed, but one gets killed by the demon monks, and a woman from 2013 becomes the newest Arrival. Her struggles to understand what is going on and what it means to her make up a good part of the book.
I thought this was a good book, and one that will yield fruitful discussion at our Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club meeting; but I found a few to0 many unexplained plot holes in the story to make this anywhere near a great book.