In Adrian Tchaikovsky's The Expert System's Champion, sometimes the ones you hate are the only ones that can save you.
It's been ten years since Handry was wrenched away from his family and friends, forced to wander a world he no longer understood. But with the help of the Ancients, he has cobbled together a life, of sorts, for himself and his fellow outcasts.
Wandering from village to village, welcoming the folk that the townships abandon, fighting the monsters the villagers cannot—or dare not—his ever-growing band of misfits has become the stuff of legend, a story told by parents to keep unruly children in line.
But there is something new and dangerous in the world, and the beasts of the land are acting against their nature, destroying the towns they once left in peace.
And for the first time in memory, the Ancients have no wisdom to offer...
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Tchaikovsky's deliciously creepy sequel to The Expert System's Brother showcases just how alien other worlds can be. In the decade since Handry was Severed from his village and assumed leadership of the Order of Cain, a society of fellow outcasts, he's managed to create a loose network between the roving Order and the stationery villages of their unnamed planet. His sister, Melory, is host to an "expert system," the ghost of a physician that serves as a source of ancestral knowledge. At Orovo, a regular stop on their travels, they are confronted by a new type of expert system, a Champion, hosted by a woman named Amorket and sent to fight the Order. As Handry and Melory negotiate with Amorket, another of the Order arrives to request aid in a war at the village of Tsuno, which is under siege by beasts called brackers. But the Order soon realize that the behavior of the brackers is beyond their ken and even stranger threats lurk nearby. Woven throughout are flashbacks to the planet's original colonization, as transplants from Earth struggle to adapt to their inhospitable new home. Tchaikovsky's vision is bizarre, frightening, and wildly imaginative. Readers will be wowed. \n
The definition of a page turner. Amazing follow up to The Expert System’s Brother. Can’t wait for more!