Drowning World: A Novel of the Commonwealth
Del Ray, February, 2003.
Hardcover, 272 pages.
Drip, drip, drip: the constant rain is enough to drive humans crazy on the perennially wet Commonwealth world of Fluva. Constant rain has produced a jungle planet full of dangerous predators and incredible botanicals, which are a pharmaceutical treasure trove. When the obnoxious but talented human botanicals prospector Shadrach Hasselemoga crash lands in a remote area of the planet, Commonwealth administrator Lauren Matthias sends representatives of the planet's two quarrelling species to rescue him: warrior Jemunu-jah, one of the native Sakuntala, and the immigrant Deyzara trader, Masurathoo. But the rescuers crash land, as well, leaving the three species to combine forces to walk out of the incredibly dangerous jungle of Viisiiviisii - something that no one has done to date. Meanwhile, Lauren has her hands full as violence breaks out between the Sakuntala and the Deyzara (egged on by the villainous reptilian AAn) which threatens to destroy the world's social structure.
Alan Dean Foster has created a world that is so real you can almost hear the drip of the constant rain, feel the humidity and worry about the predators that inhabit the rain forests of Fluva. The three species who must cooperate to make it out of the jungle alive find each other's appearance totally repugnant, which makes for a compelling story. Lauren Matthias is an interesting character who has to fight a hostile environment (to humans, anyway), warring species and a recalcitrant adolescent daughter. Foster keeps the action moving, and his characters are vivid and most entertaining. This excellent entry set in the Commonwealth universe is more evidence that the bestselling Foster will never run out of great ideas.
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This review was published in the March, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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