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Powers that Be by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Review by Lyssa

Powers that Be is the first in a three novel series by this duo and concerns disabled veteran and employee of the Integral Company Corps, Yanaba Maddock. With her lungs and other internal organs destroyed by poisonous gas, barely half-healed, and possibly on the verge of sanity, she has been sent to the planet of Petaybee to discern the cause of strife that the natives are directing against the Corps's operatives on Petaybee. Landing at the space port, Yanaba is quickly ushered into anarctic world by a spunky little sled driver named Bunny. Bunny introduces Yanaba to her family; Bunny's aunts Aisling and Clodagh take her in and she begins her investigation, while become acquainted with the clan and their strange ways. It will prove to be a frustrating investigation, however, as the inhabitants are reluctant to share anything other than the preparation of their various exotic foods and how to survive in such an arctic climate. As frustrated as she is, she begins to love Bunny and her aunts, and is soon introduced to their nephew/cousin, geneticist, Sean Shongili.

Still, no one is forthcoming, and the reports from Yanaba's infuriating commander, Colonel Giancarlo, of trouble from the Petaybean natives arrives just in time to pique her distrust once more. Eventually, Yanahas spent enough time with the family and clan to gain their trust and is invited to a strange council meeting. Upon following her newfound friends into a huge, amazing, crystalline cavern, she is only made to wait in silence while the others seem in meditation. I won't give away what she finds here, but it turns her objective completely on its ear and where she once struggled to help the Corps gain its objective on Petaybee, she is now stuggling against it; meanwhile, her wrecked body is healing and against her better judgement, she is falling in love with Sean.

Spiced with intrigue, mystery, romance and a liberal dash of environmental conscience, Powers that Be is an exciting read that had me guessing on several points right to its conclusion. The revelation of Yana's newly regenerated self and a surprising pregnancy, coupled with the ongoing struggle to save Petaybee and its people promise more for the story's continuation.

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