In his first published work since finishing his Thomas Covenant series, Stephen R. Donaldson delivers two all original novellas in The King’s Justice. I’ve long been a fan of this author, stemming all the way back to the late 1970s when I began voraciously reading his The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever. It was well beyond my 8-year-old reading level, but it forced me to try harder and it certainly increased my vocabulary. I loved both of those trilogies and was ecstatic when he decided to revisit the character in 2004; those final books are amazing and well worth the wait. But we are here to talk about two all new stories with which Donaldson has seen fit to grace us! So, good reader, let us get to it!
His father is dead. His mother was shot. The scanner was taken.
Tate Archer is in big trouble. The H2 alien race that has mixed with humans for eons, leaving only the 50 First families (pure human) has it, and he knows it is all his fault. So much was left unsaid between him and his father – about emotions not shown, and technology and secrets not shared. His father must have thought they had more time. He now understands what he has been training for all his life – this confrontation.
Tate Archer has been in training his entire life. For what, he has no idea. His secretive weapons inventor dad harps on “family responsibility” and “high stakes” but won’t clue Tate in on just what that means. All Tate needs to do right now is to follow his punishing exercise regimen, eat according to his carefully prescribed nutrition plan (protein gel, anyone?), and sharpen his ever curious mind (learned chemistry in kindergarten).
The bright spots in his life are his girlfriend Christina, and sneaking into his dad’s high security lab whenever possible, with his makeshift replicant fingerprints. He “borrows” what looks like a scanner, triggering a shoot-out, which results in his father’s death. Now Tate is right in the middle of a centuries old secret alien war on Earth, and everyone wants that scanner. Tate and Christina are on the run, joined by Tate’s formerly-out-of-the-picture mom, and don’t know who to trust. All Tate knows is that the scanner is more than it seems, and he has to keep it out of everyone’s hands.
Colleen Rowley is in her senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, an all girls prep school. She is fighting for the title of valedictorian. She is fighting for spots at top colleges. Will she soon have to fight for her health and sanity?
The girls at the school are falling ill in the strangest ways: tics and twitches, going bald in a matter of seconds, losing the ability to walk, and coughing up pins. Colleen and her friends cannot figure out what the hell is going on, and neither can the afflicted girls, the school, doctors, or the health department. The media is swarming the school, to the delight of the students and to the horror of the faculty.