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Summary of Star of Danger

by Anna Gilmour

This novel is set in the first age of Terran recontact when there was mutual antagonism between Terrans and Darkovans.

Larry Montray, aged 16, is leaving Terra to live on Darkover with his father Wade Montray, who is in the Terran Civil Service. Larry's mother is dead and he doesn't remember her. Larry is keen to learn about Darkovan culture and studies the language and information tapes available. However, he is disappointed when he arrives on Darkover. Despite the red sun and four moons, the spaceport and living quarters are exactly like those he left behind on Terra. While in the spaceport, a red-headed boy mistakes him for a Darkovan boy, because Larry had red hair too. Larry is determined to learn more about Darkover and its different customs.

Over the next few weeks, Larry becomes bored by life in Terran HQ. When he explains this to his father, Wade takes him out to look round Thendara market. Larry is excited to see all the different stalls and the people, who again mistake him for a Darkovan boy. On the way home Larry bumps into a kyrri, a non human who gives off an electric shock when touched. Wade tells Larry that he used to live on Darkover but asks him not to wander round Thendara again.

Larry is still curious and continues to wander round Thendara. He becomes conscious that he is being followed and one evening is attacked by a group of boys who resent Terrans in their city. Larry is saved by the intervention of Kennard Alton, the boy he met at the spaceport. Kennard invites Larry back to his house to get cleared up after the fight, and they begin to swop details of their different lifestyles. Kennard is keen to travel and wants to learn about spaceships. Larry promises to bring him some technical books from Terran HQ. Larry meets Kennard's father, Valdir Alton, who invites him to visit again.

Wade is furious with Larry and forbids him to leave the Terran Zone again. Larry feels that he can't break the promise he made to his new friend and goes back to Kennard's house. He is sorry to disobey his father but feels that he is now old enough to make his own decisions. As he and Kennard are talking, Valdir comes in with Lorill Hastur, who questions him about his father's attitude. Back in Terran HQ, Larry tries to justify his actions to his father but ends up promising not to leave Terran HQ again. Ten days later, Larry is invited to go and stay with Kennard in the country. The Terrans want him to go, so that they can learn more about Darkover, but Wade allows Larry to make his own choice, and Larry chooses to go.

Larry goes to stay at Kennard's country estate of Armida, where the people are worrying about forest fires and village raids by the savage trailmen. In a burnt village, Valdir uses his matrix - a telepathic enhancing crystal - to probe a survivor's memory. Larry realises for the first time the power that telepaths hold in Darkovan society. The Darkovan party, including Larry, go after the trailmen and Larry tries to find out the exact meaning of the Darkovan blood feud, which is so different from the orderly Terran society. Valdir says that Darkovan life is changing, because of the disruption that the Terrans represent, and nothing will be the same again.

On the way they come across a serious forest fire and all the locals, with Larry, battle to put it out. Lorill Hastur and the leronis Janine attempt to put out the fire by summoning clouds but it won't rain. Larry, using his knowledge of Terran science, suggests that they teleport carbon dioxide above the clouds to force rain down. They do this, and it works. However, Valdir learns that the fire was a diversion and that the trailmen have attacked another village. As they ride off, Kennard invites Larry to look into his matrix and they experience a brief moment of rapport, each learning more about the other.

Suddenly they are ambushed and Larry is knocked unconscious and kidnapped. His captor, Cyrillon, believes him to be Kennard and plans to use his telepathic powers to spy on the Comyn. When Larry arrives at Cyrillon's castle, he is taken straight to Cyrillon. He has a matrix and forces Larry to look into it, but it makes Larry feel sick. They give Larry some kirian, which expands telepathic power, and Larry sees visions of Valdir, Lorill and the Terrans in the matrix. Larry is furious that he is being used as a spy and his anger somehow reaches through the matrix and knocks Cyrillon to the floor. When he looks in the matrix again, he hears Kennard's voice and then faints.

Larry is kept prisoner, and the day Cyrillon leaves, he is fed drugged food. In his drugged state he doesn't realise at first when Kennard rescues him. As they had been in rapport briefly, Kennard was able to trace him. They escape from the castle but the guards set banshees on them, who can chase any living thing. Kennard and Larry change their scent by rolling in shrubs and manage to escape. They are in strange land, which Kennard doesn't know, with little food and they must try to get through the forest to the Hastur lands. Before they start, Kennard learns about Cyrillon's matrix and destroys it with his own matrix as it would be too dangerous if Cyrillon learnt how to use it himself. Kennard is surprised to learn that Larry has some telepathic power as he thought that no Terrans were telepaths.

After several days travelling through the forest, Kennard catches a rabbit and lights a fire, despite Larry's strong, irrational feeling that he shouldn't. The trailmen, who are terrified of fire, capture them and take them to their village. Their leader tells them that they will be kept there for life. Larry suggests showing the trailmen that fire can be useful and so they clean their guard's wound using a sterilised knife. The leader agrees to let them go if they promise not to light a fire in the forest again.

Kennard soon realises that they are lost and he doesn't know which way to go. He explains to Larry that the Terrans will hold Darkover responsible if Larry is killed and that is why it is so important to get home. Larry uses the magnetised blade from his penknife to make a compass and they set off in roughly the right direction. As they climb up into the mountains, Larry begins to have trouble breathing and Kennard worries that he won't make it through. Climbing a rock face, Kennard slips and Larry catches him, but dislocates his shoulder doing so. Kennard deep-probes him and replaces the bone, but the worst bit of the climb is still to come. They manage to cross it, and finally reach the pass through the mountains. However, they hear birds shrieking and realise that the pass is guarded by a nest of banshee birds. Kennard is too afraid to think straight, so Larry taunts him for being scared when a Terran boy isn't. Kennard agrees to follow Larry's leadership but promises to fight him when they are safely through the pass. The bird senses movement, so Larry and Kennard take turns to run, confusing the bird. They make it through the pass but Kennard is furious with Larry for taking the leadership. Larry refuses to fight him as they are friends, and Kennard agrees that they are now bredin - sworn friends and brothers.

Walking through the woods, they come across a chieri - a beautiful non human, the original inhabitants of Darkover. The chieri offers them shelter and takes them to his home. He explains to Larry and Kennard that they are both Terrans. Long ago, a Terran spaceship crashed on Darkover and the Darkovans are the descendants of the survivors. Some interbred with the chieri and brought the strain of psi powers into the Comyn. The chieri agrees to help them and teleports them back to Terran HQ where Valdir Alton, Wade Montray and the Terran Commander are arguing over Larry's disappearance.

The next day, Kennard and Larry agree to swop places so that Kennard can be educated on Terra and Larry can learn about Darkovan life. Wade explains that this is Larry's heritage, as his mother was a Comyn woman, of the Aldaran Domain. The first steps in reuniting Terra and Darkover have been taken.

copyright 96-99 Anna Gilmour
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source file (Last modification: Wed Apr 21 17:21:45 1999)