It was a world of ice and snow - a planet that just supported life and that had been terraformed from frozen uninhabitable rock.The people of Petaybee were hardy, self-reliant, friendly - and also very secretive.
Major Yana Maddock, medically discharged from the service, was shipped to Petaybee in the hope that her burnt-out lungs might just recover in the icy air.And at the last moment, she was given a special commission.Unauthorized life-forms had been seen on the planet and, more seriously, geologic survey teams had vanished into nowhere, the odd survivor being discovered abandoned and insane.It was Yana's task to infiltrate Petaybee society and find out who - or what - was causing the eerie events on the planet.
She discovered a primitive ice-bound community of extraordinary people - people who possessed some mysterious quality of surviving - and people who Yana discovered she both liked and revered as she found herself becoming one of them.
A frontier society outwits a big, uncaring parent company in this appealing joint venture by McCaffrey ( Damia's Children ) and Scarborough ( The Healer's War ), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning representatives of two generations of science fiction writers. Major Yanaba Maddock, medically retired with severely damaged lungs after military action aboard a space station, is pressured into acting as a spy by her employer, the sinister Intergal corporation. Colonel Giancarlo, local head of psychological operations, seeks evidence that colonists on the bitterly cold and inhospitable planet Petaybee are abducting company geological survey teams, engaging in illegal genetic engineering and plotting rebellion. Yana finds the locals charming, helpful and uncannily effective as healers; their home remedies salvage her ruined lungs. As the company and its forces move in to quell what they perceive as rebellion, Yana casts her lot with the Petaybeans and geneticist Sean Shongili, the man she has come to love. Perceptive characterizations and a vivid depiction of a nurturing culture integrated with nature make up for the somewhat hackneyed plot.