Fiction Reviews

Maelstrom: Book Two of the Twins of Petaybee

(2006) Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough, Corgi, 6.99, pbk, 350 pp, 978-0-552-15441-3

This is the paperback edition of the hardback previously reviewed and so this review is a different take on the book. Maelstrom continues the story began in Changelings. It is the second of the Twins of Petaybee story, and continues the story of Ronan and Murel, the two Selkie children of Yanaba Maddock and Sean Shongili, Planetary Governors of the planet Petaybee.

This book begins with the ship of Marmion Algermaine taking off with Ronan, Murel, and their friend Ke-ola who is of Hawaiian stock. Ke-ola's people are on a planet where conditions are difficult to survive in, and when they reach the planet, they find that heavy meteor showers are making conditions worse. Going down to the surface despite a Company ship under the command of a Colonel Cally trying to stop them, they rescue the survivors of the catastrophe who wish to take their sacred totem animals (aumakua) with them. The Honu (turtles) were expected, but the Mano (sharks) were not. The Mano's people refuse to leave without the four large sharks, and they are forced to take them aboard Marmion's ship, the Piaf, and put in suspended animation for the trip.

Upon returning to Petaybee, the twins make the surprising discovery that the Honu, like themselves, are shape shifters, and become tortoises out of the water when there is need.

Later on, Ronan, Murel, Ke-ola, a Honu and the otter Sky are swimming in the ocean when Murel falls asleep, and wakes up to find her brother Ronan, Sky the otter and Ke-ola with the Honu have gone on ahead, not realising she has fallen behind. As she tries to find them and catch up, she unwittingly draws the attention of a school of killer whales. As Murel is in the water, she is in seal form, so the orcas see her as a tasty snack, and she is buffeted by the creatures to the point of dizziness. Biting one if them just makes them angrier. Ronan, Ke-ola and Sky rush to try and aid her, but one human, one seal and one otter are no match for a pack of orcas.

Back on land, the mother, Yana, becomes aware by some innate sense that her daughter is in mortal danger, as does the Selkie father, who converts to seal form and shoots off to go to Murel's aid. However, when they both get there by separate methods, although Ke-ola is still there, there are no signs of Ronan and Murel...

The book is fast-paced and was very easy and enjoyable to read. It is full of action but is spiced with humour and it is easy to keep interest in this book. I would recommend this book to anybody who had previously enjoyed Anne McCaffrey or Elizabeth Anne Scarborough's books, particularly if they enjoyed the first of the Petaybee novels.

Gail Tomlinson

See also Vicki's review here.

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