The main theme of the story is that the most technologically advanced civilization is not necessarily the best civilization.
This idea is not shown as explicitly black-or-white as, for example, in Avatar, yet we found in the planet Alsea a highly moral society, while the Protectorate, the confederation of "high evolved" planets in charge of the order of the galaxy falls short of expecations because of its tendency to judge, to protect its own privileges and to serve its own profits.
The alsean population is very rich of traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs, it's technologically very advanced, expecially in medical field and in nanotechnolgy.
Also it's a free society and, because of their peculiar empathic powers, higly respectful of their neighbor's feelings. The community is subdivided in an ordered system of castes, based on the natural tendencies of individuals, like global corporations. Not too perfect, but still a good place where to live.
The story begins when the Caphenon, a Protecotrate startreklike
starship guided by Captain Serrado, crashes on the planet while defending it from a malevolent, conquest-aimed, alien population.
We follow three strong women, three heroines: Ekatya Serrado, captain of the Caphenon, Lhyn Rivers, genial scientist of the Protectorate, and Andira Tal, the Lancer
, or world leader, of Alsea.
On one side there are Ekatya, Lhyn (who is also scretely Ekatya's lover and mate) and the remaining crew of the Caphenon, on the other Lancer Andira Tal and the Alseans she leads.
The adventure then is a pinwheel of happenings while the two groups of heroes learn at first to know each other and gradually come to mutual respect and like, they work together, face a great danger together, and eventually come to love each other in true friendship.
The book is so complex and yet the reading is so flowing, enjoyable and easy. That, for me, is a proof of its high quality.
Now, is this book really a lesfic
For a very large part it is a wonderful adventure where two of the leads just happen to be lesbian.
But in the last section, Ekatya and Lhyn learn something really important and beautiful about their love and there is an important turn toward the romance.
And also Andira Tal... but I don't want to spoil.
Last but not least, the book is really about the wonderful character of Andira Tal, so noble, sacrificing, generous, emotionally rich, the true heroine and symbol of her planet.
She is strong like a thunder as a front line warrior, an intelligent, smart politician and yet, secretly, a total sweetheart. Such a lovely contrast, all in one person.
Did I already say that I love Andira Tal?