Monday 2 January 2012
Book Review: Sargamatha by Nina M Osier
Sargamatha by Nina M Osier
Available from amazon
Review copy from author.
Maryama 'Scorch' Stcackpole hasn't been back to her home world of Sagarmatha since she ran away at the age of sixteen, fleeing the marriages her mother had arranged for her and instead joining the Navy, not considered a suitable career for a Sagarmathan female.
Now twenty five years later, the former starship officer returns with her captian, John 'Boots' Smith in tow, hoping he will be allowed emigrant status on Sagarmatha, for at fifty he was forced to retire. But things have changed since she's been away.
Always a bit wary of Off-Worlders, Sagarmatha is a beautiful mountainous planet that was beloved of climbers from all over the galaxy, but they were never considered part of Sagarmatha. They stayed in guest-lodgings and the only contact was usually from their Sagarmathan mountain guides.
A civil war has been brewing, between those who want Sagarmatha to remain a tourist destination and those who want to keep Sagarmatha free of outside influences, called the Purifiers. The Purifiers have no qualms about killing their Honored Guests, what the tourists were usually called and Maryama and Captain Smith land smack damn in the middle of it. It doesn't help that she is in the company of an Off-Worlder and days after Smith has been awarded emigrant status, a new government of Purifiers is in place and he is now considered a fugitive, as is their son Antoine, for he wasn't born on Sagarmatha either.
Although a speculative ficition book, it is a story about the characters more than anything else. With well drawn characters, worlds and customs it is a tale to get lost in. Depsite space ships and blaster battles, it all seems so real, from the fact that Sagarmathan women are expected to have two husbands or enter a nunnery. Maryama managed to escape because her father was from Earth and she had dual citizenship, but for those who were fully Sagarmathan, like her cousin Tara, there was no way out, it was either marriage or the nunnery.
It was excellent the way no particular culture or way of life was considered to be better than others, but differences weren't just brushed aside easiily either, which made the story seem more realistic and a lot more interesting. Culture clashes also make a tale more interesting and there are certainly some of those in Sagarmatha.
Fast and pacy, it is a real page turner and not one word is wasted. Adventure, action and even a little hint of romance, Sagarmatha has it all. Another winner from Ms. Osier.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of The Chosen and Silent Screams
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