- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: WMG Publishing (March 1 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0615458564
- ISBN-13: 978-0615458564
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 576 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,414,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist novel Paperback – Mar 1 2011
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Hugo And World Fantasy Award-Winning Author The acclaimed science fiction-police series that goes where "few authors have thoroughly explored."
Praise for The Disappeared: "An entertaining blend of mystery and SF."
"A very thought-provoking novel that lives up to every expectation we have of Rusch and her considerable talent. Buy and enjoy."
"Achieves a higher purpose: to make us look at the world around us with a new under-standing."
"[Rusch] especially excels in tales of the collision between humor and alien cultures. The Disappeared is a fine example of her skill."
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award. To keep up with everything she does, go to kriswrites.com. To track her many pen names and series, see their individual websites (krisnelscott.com, kristinegrayson.com, krisdelake.com, retrievalartist.com, divingintothewreck.com, fictionriver.com). She lives and occasionally sleeps in Oregon.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book shifted over to worthwhile once the MC became the clear focus of the story. Flint turned out to be both very likeable and someone I can respect, especially once he began to make his own choices. His partner also grew on me as she became a more complex and complete person and started to treat Flint as a partner, though she never lost the cynical bitter edge. I'm curious to see what Rusch does with them in the next book in the series, as the plot of this book (though interesting and rather dense) seemed more like an intro to the people and world, especially to Flint. Well written, solid realistic characters, and aliens who are quite unusual. The three different alien races in the book are profoundly disturbing, but the reasons humans clash are mostly cultural, legal and political, rather than the more typical biological imperatives or military battles. Most of the conflict in the book happens within the human heart, as Rusch focusses on suffering caused by the law when the punishments don't seem fair or proportionate with the accused person's crime. Almost everyone in the book is hurting, and a lot of them are struggling to figure out the right thing to do now, after they've already screwed it all up, especially when all the choices seem wrong and will do even more damage. It's not as grim a book as that sounds, though, and ends on a very positive note that helps balance all the negative from the beginning.
Set in the far future, Rusch has managed to create an intriguing police procedural mystery AND a great, thoughtful sci fi novel with well-developed alien cultures and interesting questions about human interactions with them. Most characters are both interesting and engaging and I definitely found myself invested in them. Miles Flint has the potential to become the successor to Asimov’s Elijah Bailey although he is initially closer to the damaged heroes of classic noir mysteries.
So why not five stars? Because for me this was a little intense. Rusch’s excellent characterization made the peril a little TOO real and since some of those at risk are children I was increasingly uncomfortable with a seemingly hopeless situation. But that’s just me :) I liked this enough that I will definitely buy the rest of the series.
An entertaining blend of science fiction, mystery, and police drama about people on the run from the law, and the police who have to decide between upholding that law and their own moral judgement.
Before I begin this review, let me point that I do have a certain, hmm… prior bias, merely to provide my readers an opportunity to take that bias into account.
While I do enjoy the occasional science fiction novel, I tend to prefer fantasy. Also, the element of crime and mystery present in The Disappeared puts its genre so far outside of my usual reading material that, had I not encountered it via one of Storybundle’s story… er, bundles, I might never have heard of it, and I definitely would never have read it.
And that oversight on my part does the book a serious injustice. Having read this book, I bought an Amazon copy as well (separate from the version in my personal documents), and I eagerly look forward to continuing the series.
Enough of that; on to the review!
The Earth Alliance has joined together many alien cultures, many strange customs. Among these are the customs of law.
The Disty will kill you if you have ever wronged them, mutilate your body and put it on display as a warning to others. They will do the same to anyone caught trying to help you.
The Rev will send you to a penal colony to work until they are satisfied with your repentance. Humans rarely survive in these places.
The Wygnin, the race that even lawyers fear to fight, the race that nobody wants to cross… the Wygnin will take your children and transform them into their own kind.
And humans are required by law to allow these cultures their own forms of justice.
Miles Flint is a detective in the Armstrong Dome on the moon. He has lived with this type of society, these types of laws, most of his life, but has never truly had to deal with the consequences of those laws before now.
Never, that is, until he encounters the victims of each race in a matter of days, one right after another.
The Disappeared is not your typical mystery novel. “Whodunnit” is clear from the start… with the possible exception of the Disty killing, and that only because the detectives must, as a matter of procedure, consider the possibility of an imitator.
The mysteries, instead, are: Why did they do it; what did the victims, or the victims’ parents in the case of the Wygnin, do that justified these actions? Do the aliens have the proper warrants; is it truly legal to allow them their forms of justice… or to continue blocking them?
And, since every victim was found to have employed a Disappearance service–an industry that is technically legal to exist but not legal to use–to change their identities for exactly this sort of reason, how did their pursuers track them down?
And quite possibly the biggest mystery of all: how will Flint or or partner Noelle DeRicci reconcile the laws they are required to uphold with their moral objections?
The first mystery, that of “why” is revealed, in every case, little by little throughout the entire novel.
The ability to uncover that information sometimes requires illegal activity on Flint’s part, but his part in learning the truth is generally acceptable in the face of seeking justice of any sort.
The answer to that mystery, however, shows just how different these aliens are than humans, as they often take what we might see as drastic forms of justice over apparently insignificant crimes.
The bulk of Flint’s and DeRicci’s jobs is to work on the second mystery: do these aliens truly have the right to seek their brand of justice?
Each group of aliens is required to provide warrants, to prove that their actions are legal, that this particular human is legitimate quarry. The humans, meanwhile, must do what they can to prove the warrants are not valid, to prevent an innocent from suffering over a mistake.
The third mystery, that of how the aliens track people down, becomes something of a personal project for Flint after he notices some rather disturbing similarities among the victims.
The answer to this mystery takes him most of the novel to find, and what he learns is the final step in questioning the very laws he is required to protect.
And the final mystery, the legal concerns versus the moral ones.
Nobody wants to simply give up a person to these alien forms of justice, no matter what crime might have been committed. But when it becomes clear that the aliens’ warrants are valid, the humans must make a choice between the morally objectionable or the illegal.
Noelle DeRicci has given people up to the alien justice before, and it becomes increasingly evident that she will do so again, no matter how little she approves. She is willing to do what she can to protect herself and Flint from her superiors’ rage, but she will not take that same chance with the aliens.
Flint, on the other hand, spends a good share of the novel trying to figure out how to outwit the aliens, the Wygnin in particular. He struggles in vain to separate his profession from his heart, and is determined to find a way to protect one of the Wygnin’s quarry, an infant that reminds him far too much of his own long-lost daughter. The mystery here becomes less about how far he will go to protect that child, but more about whether he can do so without making himself a target.
The novel did have a few problems–typos and spelling errors, mostly–but these were insignificant, barely noticeable upon reading the story and not interfering in the slightest with my ability to understand what was happening.
Those errors were, ultimately, forgettable; I know they were there, but it would take another read-through to look for them simply to remember what they were.
The plot was engrossing, a little outside of my usual reading material, but it certainly left me wanting more. And isn’t that, after all, what any good book should do? :)
There was only one detail that I found disappointing, and I think that detail says a lot more about me than it does about the book.
See, when I read a book like this, full of exotic creatures and unfathomable customs, I start to expect to see it everywhere. So I fully expected to learn that Flint’s daughter Emmeline had been killed by something just as exotic as the cases he was taking on.
I was definitely surprised, and yes, a little disappointed, to learn that her death had a completely mundane cause. But I think, even more than my disappointment at the plot point this represented, was my disappointment at the society, at the too-believable notion that we can travel the stars and still face impatient daycare providers and shaken baby syndrome.