Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie's mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she's not entirely sure it's a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finna former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn's side, he dies. If she doesn't cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.
But Edie's abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she'll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.
This brilliantly conceived debut heralds a significant new talent. The secretive interstellar government called the Crib unleashed its “biocyph” terraforming technology on the planet Scarabaeus, but something went very wrong. Only sensitive, talented Edie Sha'nim, an orphan raised by the Crib and taught to program biocyph seeds, knows what happened. Rebel Fringe colonies, determined to escape the Crib's clutches, send freedom fighters to kidnap Edie, telepathically link her to handsome thug Finn, and promise her liberty if she shows them how to prevent the biocyph seeds' annual deactivation. Edie wants to trust Finn and help the rebels, but she doesn't dare explain her part in Scarabaeus's transformation into a planet of horrifying death. Creasy's convincing scientific speculation, appealing characterizations, and eerie alien landscapes make this science fiction romance deeply satisfying. (May)