enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Rosemary Kirstein, The Outskirter's Secret

I read this book about 23-Nov-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1992. This note was last modified Monday, 05-May-2014 22:12:39 PDT.

This is book 2 of the "Steerswoman" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


A direct sequel to The Steerswoman. Rowan and Bel join and Outskirter tribe and travel with them on their way to the cliff where the Guidestar (satellite) landed.

They discover a lot more about how the world works; and we discover somewhat more than they do (we have a modern technical background to interpret what they observe against). Looks like there are periodic blasts of heat (microwave radiation from satellites) sent against the Face area, to remove the native wildlife and give the "redgrass" a chance. Redgrass may well be an engineered species introduced by the colonists; and I suspect those goats aren't stock-standard either.

There are also implications about the history from the fact that the Outskirters consciously hate and are consciously fighting the land around them. They were probably trained and let loose there to be part of the ecological transformation. Their strategy isn't actually good for their own lifestyle—they actually need the redgrass, but they try to kill it as much as possible. They don't understand, any more, that what they're really doing is preparing things for the terran stock to move in.

This one has good character stuff and good life stuff, but at the end, they haven't actually discovered much by getting to the falled Guidestar. They can't understand anything about it. They've learned stuff on the way, and I guess they've set the course of the rest of the conflict (the chief wizard is in for hard times).

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David Dyer-Bennet