In the late 21st Century, with Earth wracked by climate change and political upheaval, an ambitious private foundation launches a starship to find a new world. Among those aboard Aeon are Catharin Gault, an idealistic astronaut-physician, and scientist-passenger Joseph Devreze, a molecular biologist as brilliant as he is irresponsible. He has his own hidden motives for fleeing old Earth.
Things begin to go amiss while everyone is still in the cold suspended animation called cryostasis, on the long journey through interstellar space.
Programmed to search for a planet with a large moon—the only way to guarantee stable seasons, tides and an Earthlike ecosystem after terraforming—the starship finds a destination better than Catharin ever dared hope for: two Earth-sized planets locked in orbit around each other. Planet Green has abundant plant life and a puzzling lack of large animals. Planet Blue is an oceanic world covered with hurricanes. The green planet with its bright blue moon seems like a perfect stage for the drama of civilization to begin anew and turn out better this time. But the journey took far longer than anyone anticipated, and a millennium of cryostasis exacted a heavy price: insidious molecular damage.
Now Catharin must rely on the untrustworthy maverick Joseph Devreze to help her save humankind on Planet Green. Their mutual attraction ratchets up even as their conflict escalates. Together Catharin and Joe must decide how they can face, and embrace, a future at odds with Aeon’s planned mission and their own expectations. Meanwhile the mystery of the Hurricane Moon looms over them all.
And so the season of crisis begins.
Love flourishes amid technical puzzles and planetary mysteries in Latner's strong debut, which offers a healthy dose of the sciences astronomy, physics, geology, biology along with an intriguing cast of characters. After the interstellar colony ship Aeon leaves a failing Earth to build a better world, the people aboard discover that even the most thorough planning can't prepare you for everything. It's medical officer Catharin Gault's job to care for the crew, both in stasis and out, but even the best medical technology can't hold back the effects of time, especially when the Aeon's voyage ends up taking hundreds of years longer than originally envisioned. The colonists' stasis sleep has left them open to dangerous side effects on the molecular level, changes that alter their health and their ability to have children. Prickly molecular biologist Joseph Devreze, a last-minute addition to the Aeon's crew, may be able to repair the damage, but his solution could change humanity forever. Well-known for her hard SF short fiction, Latner should win new readers with this fine first novel.