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Synopsis from publisher:
The aliens appeared one day, built a base on the moon, and put an ad on the internet:
“We are an alien race you may call the Atoners. Ten thousand years ago we wronged humanity profoundly. We cannot undo what has been done, but we wish humanity to understand it. Therefore we request twenty-one volunteers to visit seven planets to Witness for us. We will convey each volunteer there and back in complete safety. Volunteers must speak English. Send requests for electronic applications to witness@Atoners.com."
At first, everyone thought it was a joke. But it wasn’t.
This is the story of three of those volunteers, and what they found on Kular A and Kular B.
It's books like this that remind me of why I love science fiction. The description from the publisher is really only the tip of the iceberg that is Steal Across the Sky. All of the above action takes place in part one, leaving the bulk of the novel to reveal what happens when the Witnesses return home to share the Secret - and boy, it's a doozy.
The Secret reveals itself slowly, with Kress dropping neat little hints all along the way. When the Witnesses finally understand the truth of what they were sent to discover, it is their personal journeys that form the heart of the novel. Each of the four main characters has a distinctly different response to what they have seen, and each struggles to come to terms with the realities of The Secret. The diversity of their reactions allows for each reader to indentify with one of the characters - I think everyone will find a part of themselves in at least one of the four. Kress allows each room to grow throughout the novel, and the result is an extremely believable, sympathetic group.
There isn't much more I can say without revealing too much - this is the kind of book you definitely want to read without being spoiled. I couldn't put it down, and now immediately want to go find every book Kress has written and read them all. If you like science fiction, you should look for this one!
Source: Franklin Avenue library