—By Melody Kepler
Suffering from work-related anxiety makes life difficult, but what if your job involved a mission to rescue your entire world from extinction? Meet Ayathesti—compassionate, perfectionist, loner—the geneticist undergoing this stressful plight.
With planet Naratu dying, the only thing keeping the Mujai people from extinction is aerosolizing gold into the atmosphere. The Council has identified a planet abundant in the metal and has selected a team to gather preliminary information. Ayathesti accompanies the team on the eighty-seven-year flight. Her task? To isolate and collect DNA from an indigenous species to gene splice with their own. To create a hybrid species. The purpose? To establish a localized colony to supply gold as needed. But having a compassionate heart leaves Ayathesti with an inner conflict: show mercy and prevent the enslavement of a new species or ensure her people’s survival?
Things grow even more complicated with Tiamet as mission leader. His intelligence, confidence, and drive are exactly what make him perfect for the position. But they are also why he's a perfect distraction for Ayathesti. Being in charge has challenges of its own, including making sure everyone is moving toward the same goal. And keeping up with changes as they arise has him juggling priorities. Given his history with Ayathesti, he’s confident he can get her on board to do her part.
If Naratu is to survive, they both need to fill the demands of their roles. While Ayathesti wrestles with her sense of right and wrong, Tiamet faces the pressure of leading a successful mission, and both struggle to fight the pull drawing them together. Will Ayathesti compromise her morals and go through with her duties? Can Tiamet stay focused and return everyone home safely? Will there be enough time on the brief visit of this foreign land—a planet they call Earth?
"A science fiction romance story, involving scientists sent on a questionable mission to save their planet from environmental destruction."—Review by Michelle Hogmire: Co-Founder of The Haint