Three space miners, Gill, Calu, & Rafik, find a survival pod drifting in space: inside sleeps Acorna, a furry, unicorn-like humanoid infant. Young Acorna soon manifests special powers such as the ability to purify water & air, to make plants grow & to heal injuries. When Acorna is almost snatched by scientists who want to study her as an anomaly, the miners must flee & whisk Acorna away to the planet Kezdet, a planet known to deal in child slave labor, & the last place they wanted to go.
The vein of invention McCaffrey worked so effectively in her Pern series seems to have been exhausted. Collaborating again with Ball (after Partnership), McCaffrey opens promisingly in the far future with charming doomed unicorn beings who seal their infant into a survival pod, hoping someone will save her after they choose to die in space rather than in a grisly Khlevii torture cell. After three grungy Terran bachelor asteroid miners find the silver-curled, long-faced baby and name her "Acorna" for the strange protuberance growing from her forehead, the story gallops into a gulch of sentimentality. Acorna's horn can detect poisons and nuzzle sick and wounded humans back to health, so she becomes the savior of Kezdet, a Dickensian planet full of abused children slaving in mines, match factories and brothels. The authors stall in getting their major theme of exploited children under way, and they unconvincingly muddle it with precious goings-on among Acorna's three adopted miner dads, sentimentalized little victims, shady planetside entrepreneurs and a stock villain. Cut the "a"s from the title and what's left sums up this novel perfectly. (July) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Posted August 05, 2010 by Christy , MoundsvilleI love Anne McCaffrey books.
July 02, 1998
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Excerpt from Acorna by Margaret Ball
At first Gill assumed it was just another bit of space debris, winking as it turned around its own axis and sending bright flashes of reflected light down where they were placing the cable around AS-64-B1.3. But something about it seemed wrong to him, and he raised the question when they were back inside the Khedive.
"It is too bright to have been in space very long," Rafik pointed out. His slender brown fingers danced over the console before him; he read half a dozen screens at once and translated their glowing, multicolored lines into voice commands to the external sensor system.
"What d' you mean, too bright?" Gill demanded. "Stars are bright, and most of them have been around a good while."
Rafik's black brows lifted and he nodded at Calum.
"But the sensors tell us this is metal, and too smooth," Calum said. "As usual, you're thinking with the Viking-ancestor part of what we laughingly refer to as your brain, Declan Giloglie the Third. Would it not be pitted from minor collisions if it had been in this asteroid belt more than a matter of hours? And if it has not been in this part of space for more than a few hours, where did it come from?"