(2008) Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough, Bantam Press, £17.99, hrdbk, 223 pp, ISBN 0-978-0-593-05614-1
This book is the third in the 'Twins of Petaybee' series that began with Changelings and Maelstrom. The series follows the adventures of the Selkie twins, Ronan and Murel Maddock-Shongili, the two Selkie children of Yanaba Maddock and Sean Shongili, Planetary Governors of the planet Petaybee.
The vengeful Colonel Cally of the company has managed to engineer trumped-up charges against Marmion Algemaine and the crew of her ship, the Piaf, plus has implicated the Governors and administrators of the planet, so the entire population of the village of Kilcoole have taken refuge in the Communion cave by the hot springs. When they awaken the first morning, the twins are found to be missing. The Piaf and it's crew, plus the women and children of Ke-ola's people, (the Halau) are being taken to Gwinnet, a Company penal planet with a bad record on human rights.
The twins have left against their parent's wishes to enlist the help of the deep-sea otters, a race of shape-shifting squid-like creatures who take the form of huge otters to blend in with the local wildlife. By the time their Selkie father, Sean Shongili, investigates where the spaceship of the deep-sea otters was, he finds it gone, and Yana is informed by Clodagh, the village's wise woman, that the children are no longer on Petaybee.
The children are helped by the deep-sea otters to get onto Versailles station, run by Marmion's staff, to warn them and get a message out to Marmion's powerful friends to help get her back out, but the children are found and caught, and put on the ship with the other children to Gwinnet.
Upon arrival, they are taken to an area where they are shaved, stripped of their clothing, and forced to bathe - something that puts the two Twins in terrible danger as their shape-shifting abilities will be revealed, and their old adversary, Dr Mabo, is on the planet. Dr Mabo was a scientist who tried to study the Selkie children before, and appeared to have no care for their comfort or welfare. Luckily, the children of the Halau help conceal their change and help them escape into the planet's oceans beyond the net.
The children soon find that there are other perils in the ocean, when they are almost eaten alive by giant deep-dwelling squid-like creatures, which they later find are used by the authorities to dispose of the dead bodies from the prison.
When the children return to try and help the other children, they trigger a hidden net. It seems that one of the children of the Halau has betrayed them. Although Murel manages to avoid capture, Ronan is pulled ashore and handed straight into the clutches of Dr Mabo...
I found this book very readable and full of action. At times I was on tenterhooks waiting to find out what would happen next. I would have to recommend that anyone new to these books start with 'Changeling,' the first in the series. Though the 'Twins of Petaybee' can easily be read as a standalone series, for maximum enjoyment I would recommend reading the 'Powers That Be' trilogy first.
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