Strange Horizons, 21-28 August 2006

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"The Town on Blighted Sea" by A. M. Dellamonica

To save a woman, Ruthless’s nephew, Raviel, kills a squid-like alien (a Kabu) in "The Town on Blighted Sea" by A. M. Dellamonica. Unfortunately, the humans are exiles from Earth, living on the Kabu homeworld. Ruthless uses the skills she learned during the war with the Friends of Liberation to cover up the crime. But the clock is ticking, and can she trust Raviel to do as she says?

Dellamonica’s tale reads with well-paced suspense, and every word flows into the next. You feel for Raviel’s plight and Ruthless’s desire to help the son of her deceased brother. While there’s some infodumping, it’s minor and does not detract from the story. The moral quandaries explored are well thought out, as are the difficulties of people living as exiled refugees.

Highly recommended.