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The Light-Years Beneath My Feet    by Alan Dean Foster order for
Light-Years Beneath My Feet
by Alan Dean Foster
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2006 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

This is the sequel to Lost and Found, the novel that introduced us to Marc Walker, George the talking dog, Sque and Broaouk (the two aliens who teamed with Marc and George to escape their Vilenjji abductors). Rescued by a civilized and benevolent race, the Sessrimathe, the four escapees still yearn for home. Unfortunately, not even their advanced hosts have any idea of where their home-worlds may lie.

Bored and somewhat embarrassed at being dependent on their hosts' generosity (all three of his friends have found ways to entertain the Sessrimathe and thus feel that in some way they are earning their keep), Marc pursues an interest in cooking, and turns himself into a highly successful chef. (Foster's imaginative version of a high-tech chef would dazzle, even stun the high-profile adepts of the Food Channel.) So successful is he that he is offered a position on the world of Niyu. Learning that it is (possibly) closer to the region of space where Marc and his friends were collected, Marc accepts and convinces the others to come with him.

The Niyyuu are civilized and kindly, perhaps not as advanced as the Sessrimathe, but their civilization has endured because their conflicts are limited to mediaeval means of warfare. Despite his interest in Niyu and especially in their attractive recruiter Viyv-pym-parr (she isn't even remotely human, but Marc has been gone from Earth for a long time), Marc never loses sight of his primary goal: to find a way home. Marc is too successful in his new career. The government that employs him proves very unhelpful in the search for home, reluctant to lose its shining new novelty. In desperation, Marc employs the skills that made him so successful as a commodities trader, and manipulates political events to win himself and his friends more influence.

Once again, Foster creates yet another fascinating species and culture in Niyu and its people. He also manages several pot-shots at human society. (Compare Niyyuu warfare to human. However, both societies do not fare well when the media circus is involved.) In the end, Marc's ploy succeeds, and the four escapees are once again on the move, searching for someone, anyone, who might have heard of one of their home worlds. As always, Foster tells a compelling and entertaining tale - and makes it look easy! I am eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this trilogy, The Candle of Distant Earth.

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