Running from poverty and hopelessness, Ramón Espejo boarded one of the great starships of the mysterious, repulsive Enye. But the new life he found on the far-off planet of São Paulo was no better than the one he abandoned. Then one night his rage and too much alcohol get the better of him. Deadly violence ensues, forcing Ramón to flee into the wilderness.
Mercifully, almost happily alone—far from the loud, bustling hive of humanity that he detests with sociopathic fervor—the luckless prospector is finally free to search for the one rich strike that could make him wealthy. But what he stumbles upon instead is an advanced alien race in hiding: desperate fugitives, like him, on a world not their own. Suddenly in possession of a powerful, dangerous secret and caught up in an extraordinary manhunt on a hostile, unpredictable planet, Ramón must first escape . . . and then, somehow, survive.
And his deadliest enemy is himself.
Martin (Song of Ice and Fire series), Dozois (Strange Days) and Abraham (A Shadow in Summer) revisit classic themes of exploration, exploitation and what it means to be human in this gritty SF adventure. Humanity has finally reached the stars, only to find that all the best spots have been claimed by other races "the Silver Enye, Turu, Cian and others. Human colonists serve as world-building crash-test dummies, dropped onto empty planets deemed too dangerous or inconvenient for other races, to pave over whatever marvels and threats evolution had put there. On the misbegotten colony planet of S o Paulo, ore prospector Ramon Espejo has no illusions, especially about how the Enye view humanity. Then Ramon murders the wrong man in a drunken fight and takes off into the wastelands to avoid the Enye authorities. Once in the outback, he discovers he's not the only one trying to hide from the Enye "and that the deadly cat-lizards called chupacabras are far from the worst dangers on S o Paulo. This tightly written novel, with its memorable protagonist and intriguing extrapolation, delivers on all levels.