Coyote Frontier (2005) is the third SF novel in the Coyote Trilogy, following Coyote Rising. In the previous novel, the original colonists revolted against invaders from the Western Hemisphere Union. Once the WHU troops were defeated, they were sent back to Earth and the new colonists were incorporated into the Coyote Federation.
In this novel, Jonas Whittaker is the man who creates the starbridge, a system that generates a wormhole between linked toruses. He had been slated to flee the Solar System on the URSS Alabama, but unluckily had been captured by the police. Yet he was placed in biostasis for two centuries and outlived his government.
Anastasia Tereshkova is the Captain of the second starship commissioned by the European Alliance. The EASS Columbus is taking a starbridge to 47 Ursae Majoris-B. Actually, the ship itself will become the starbridge and the Gatehouse.
Jonathan Parson is the Second Officer of the Columbus. He is an exemplary officer. But he has no desire to return to Earth.
Carlos Montero is President of the Coyote Federation. He had been the first longrange explorer on the planet. While only seventeen, he had traveled around the world on the Great Equatorial River. Later, he became a leader in the revolt against the WHU.
Wendy Gunther is the wife of Carlos and a former member of the Federation Council. She is a better statesman than her husband, having practically cut her teeth on colonial politics. Carlos greatly depends on her political advice.
Susan Montero is the daughter of Carlos and Wendy. She is a naturalist at the university. When she is not teaching classes, Susan spends most of her time studying the natives.
Hawk Thompson is a nephew of Carlos. He is the son of Lars Thompson and Marie Montero. His loyalties are divided between his mother and his estranged father.
Manuel Castro is a savant, a downloaded mind within a robotic body. He had come to Coyote in the retinue of the WHU dictator and was even appointed Lieutenant Governor. Since the revolt, he disappeared into the mountains, where he studies the natives.
Katoom is a Chirreep, a native of Coyote. Carlos had discovered that the sandthieves on Barren Island were intelligent natives many years ago, but kept this information secret. Katoom is even more highly evolved than the sandthieves.
In this story, the EA discovers the body of Jonas on Luna and takes him back to Europe to revive him. Jonas brings with him all his notes on the dimetric drive and the starbridge. His subsequent research creates an improved version of the drive. And the discoveries of the past two centuries make feasible the construction of a working starbridge.
The prototype starbridge -- KX-1 -- is used to take the first European starship -- the EASS Galileo -- to the Kuiper Belt as the first step of a very secret mission. An improved version is built into the EASS Columbus and taken to the Ursae Majoris-B system. There the Columbus is reassembled into the starbridge and a link is established with the starbridge near the Earth.
Carlos and Wendy greet Captain Terekhova at her first landing on Coyote. Both parties are rather surprised at the changes that have occurred. Ana shares some information with the Coyote colonists, but is hesitant to tell about the EASS Galileo.
Jon Parson pilots the shuttle that takes Ana down to the surface, but he soon takes a hike. He receives assistance from a few colonists in his journey into the boondocks. He just doesn't want to go back to the dying Earth.
Eventually Jon becomes an assistant of Manny Castro. Parson soon meets Katoom and other natives. Then he encounters Susan and Hawk.
The coming of the starbridge becomes a political issue on Coyote. Some people think that it will allow the Earth to inundate Coyote with new colonists. After all, transit time within the starbridge itself is effectually zero.
This tale relates the effects of this astronautical shortcut on the Coyote Federation. After treaties are signed with various Earth governments -- and one private capitalist -- Susan notices that the environmental damage is increasing rapidly. Moreover, the habitats of the natives are also being destroyed.
The story covers a time period from shortly after the hijacking of the URSS Alabama to the confrontation between the Coyote Federation and the European Union. Almost every page is filled with action and conflict between individuals and polities. Read and enjoy!
Recommended for Steele fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interstellar conflict, planetary colonization, and interpersonal relations.
-Arthur W. Jordin