Pella and her family, leave behind an underground earth, their fathers political defeat, and their mother's unexpected death for the planet of the archbuilders. The great civilization built by the archbuilders is left in ruins, and the currenct archbuilders are deemed poor copies of their once great ancestors by the immigrants. In a dusty frontier "town" with a few other families, archbuilders, and the unspoken leader, Effram, Pella finds herself a political pawn. First to her father as he decides she and her brothers will not take the medication to protect them from the archbuilders virus. Then to Effram who is trying to undermine Pella's fathers' place in the town as a leader, and kill the remaining archbuilders. The adults fear and prejudice toward the archbuilders prevent them from understanding the archbuilders, and leads to violence in the town. These actions rip the town apart and damage the fragile community. Finally Pella, her family broken by the move, and tired of watching the destruction of the town by Efframs' anger at the remaining archbuilders, begins to fight for justice. For herself and the others. Pella's transformation by the events in the town and the archbuilders virus, and Efframs anger at the current archbuilders and obsession with their ancestors make for two compelling characters. Tension, anger, voyeriusm, and grief color this story making it wonderful and at times suspenseful read.
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