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Title The Prodigal Sun: Evergence Series #1
Primary Author Sean Williams
Secondary Author Shane Dix
Publisher Ace
Year 1999
ISBN-13 978-0441006724

Teaser/Reader Annotation Roche is an unwitting pawn in the galactic game being played, but despite all odds, she is determined to carry out her mission and deliver the all-too-important cargo.

Plot Summary Commander Morgan Roche of the Commonwealth of Empires is chosen after a few years in government service to deliver a top secret artificial intelligence unit to a group of her superiors. The catch is that the A.I. Unit is connected to her in the form of a suitcase. Before they can get too far away from the pickup point, however, the ship picks up a survivor floating in space who has only one thing to offer: his name, Adoni Cane. When their ship is attacked, only Roche, Cane, and Box escape to the surface of the prison planet below before an explosion destroys their transportation. Roche now must find a way to get herself and her valuable cargo, Box, off of the planet while avoiding the crooked prison wards. Completing this mission and delivering the A.I. Unit becomes significantly more difficult than Roche originally believed it would be, and the tag-a-longs she picks up on her way do not make life any easier.

Critical Evaluation The authors of this novel did well in creating an intricate and captivating science-fiction piece for young adults. Though it appeared at times that Williams and Dix lost track of the plot line and deviated to seemingly unconnected tales, close attention on the reader's part kept everything manageable, and the authors were able to spin everything together in an almost Sherlock Holmes-type manner – piecing together the tangents to form a coherent story. There is a significant amount of character development that happens throughout the novel, as Roche learns to move past embedded stereotypes and look beyond a black and white view of the world. Williams and Dix also do well not falling into the common science-fiction trap. That is, while there is a great deal of new terminology and technology introduced, the reader does not feel as if he or she is reading from a technical journal and can quickly grasp each concept.

About the Author Sean Williams (May 23, 1967) was born in Whyalla, Australia, but while he has not left the country, he currently lives in Adelaide. Williams has a Bachelor of Economics, a Masters in Creative Writing, and is working on a Doctorate degree all from Adelaide University.

Williams is a notable, best-selling science-fiction author who has published seventy short stories and twenty-seven novels. Together with Shane Dix, he has written three series: Evergence, Orphans, and Geodesica. Throughout his writing career, Williams has received multiple Ditmar and Aurealis awards, making him a top writer in the field of science-fiction for both adults and young adults.

Primary Genre Science-Fiction

Secondary Genre Adventure

Curriculum Ties Astronomy, Physics

Booktalking Ideas

One of the central themes throughout the novel is the concept of trust. How would you judge who to trust in Roche's situation? Would you have made different decisions?

Reading Level/Interest Age 15+

Challenge Issues None.

Why is it included? The series was recommended to me by a friend who enjoys young adult science-fiction.