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Acorna's Rebels
Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
HarperCollins Eos, 320 pages

Anne McCaffrey
Anne McCaffrey was born in Cambridge, MA. She graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures. Her first novel, Restoree, was published by Ballantine Books in l967. However, she is best know for her Dragonriders of Pern novels. Del Rey has developed an extensive site dedicated to her Pern novels.

Although she used to make appearances throughout the world, arthritis has now restricted such travel. She lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in Wicklow County, Ireland.

Anne McCaffrey Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: A Gift of Dragons
SF Site Review: Freedom's Ransom
SF Site Review: Nimisha's Ship
SF Site Review: Black Horses for the King and If Wishes Were Horses
SF Site Review: The Masterharper of Pern
Excerpt: The Dolphins of Pern
Excerpt: Dragon's Eye - aka Red Star Rising

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough wrote the Nebula Award-winning novel The Healer's War. It drew on her experiences as a nurse in Vietnam. She has written the critically acclaimed Nothing Sacred, as well as numerous other novels including a trilogy with Anne McCaffrey. They are The Powers That Be, Power Lines and Power Play. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

Bedtime Stories: Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Channeling Cleopatra
SF Site Review: The Lady of the Loch
SF Site Review: The Godmother's Web

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Acorna's Rebels To catch you up: Acorna, a member of the unicorn-like Linyaari race, has finally found her people. Once conquered, their world scoured flat, they are now using a combination of holographics and time travel to recreate the great civilization they once had. In one of these time traveling trips, her life-mate, Aari, has been lost. Her worry over him and the fatigue of many months of work have easily allowed Becker to convince Acorna to take a brief vacation. They go to MOO, the Moon of Opportunities, where they find out that another planet may have supplies they need to help them in the goal of rebuilding Vhiliinyar. A ship emergency forces them to land on a dangerous swamp planet, but they are saved by Scar McDonald, whose ship, Arkansas Traveler, pulls them to the relative safety of the Federation Outpost on the planet of Makahomnia.

They are still in a dangerous situation. During a diplomatic dinner with the leaders of this world, Acorna senses something is wrong, and soon discovers that the Priestess is worried about the temple cats she cares for, who are mysteriously dying. Acorna can heal with her horn (a fact she is careful to conceal) and so is more than willing to travel away from the safety of the outpost, stripped of all arms and technology, to the temple to see if she can help. The people of this world are extremely warlike... only their reverence and admiration for the sentient temple cats gives them a strong social order upon which they can rely, for people are often making plays for power in this world. If the cats, and with them the temples, are destroyed, the consequences on a world already quite primed for battle and violence would be tragic. Aided by Becker and his first mate, the temple cat Road Kill, and the mercenary Nadhari, a native of this world who has some issues of her own to resolve, how can Acorna fail?

The most striking aspect of Acorna's Rebels are the cats. They're actually quite catty. Not in the snarky smart aleck comment kind of way, (though there are a few of those too) but in that they aren't humanized cats. They are cats who have evolved to a certain level where they can communicate. This makes for some very interesting conversations and action, because it feels so real, so perfectly reasonable. It also makes the cats interesting.

Acorna, of course, is always a great character. She's one of the sweetest creatures to ever walk across a page... charming, yet very direct, always willing to help people. She has an honesty, and an innocence still, that is very appealing and somehow appropriate for a being who is part unicorn. She is also one of the most ironic characters in speculative fiction... she is a unicorn girl, with hooves for feet and a horn on her head that, just like in many of the myths, can heal, detect poison and purify water. Yet, she is a scientist, capable of analyzing blood and using very advanced technology. Her sweetness is well balanced by Nadhari, whose tough, almost mercenary attitude is only slightly softened by her attraction to Becker and her loyalty to her friends.

In many ways, Acorna's Rebels is hard to review. While the core of it is such a straight-forward story, the offshoots of the tale, the intrigues that twist about it and are what make it adventurous, are things you don't want to mention because their discovery is what makes the read fun. It is also not the last of this series, and I think that some interesting plots lines were lain down in this book that will be very important in the next one... and I'm looking forward to seeing what Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough do with them.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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