Review: Haze

Haze by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really a nice straightforward SF book – no crazy unpronounceable names, jut good fun. Major Keir Roget’s assignment, working for the FSA as a Federation Security Agent (the Federation is a Chinese controlled government that took control after America imploded, with help from the Mormons, who wanted to spread their control, and two wars for Confederations later), is to go down through the “haze” surrounding the planet they call Haze, and find out what is there – nothing penetrates that shield, if it is a shield. They want to know if there are aliens there, Thomists, a branch of the Federation that broke away about 2000 years ago and have not been heard from since, or it’s just a barren planet with a weird shield. The book is balanced for mot of it with flashbacks to a couple of earlier assignments that affected him deeply – one was an assignment, deep under cover, where he was surprised and almost killed when an assignment went south. The other was in St. George, Utah, what was left of the main Mormon countryside – Salt Lake is a nuke bed. They had held on to the area, even though the Federation imposed high water tariffs, and high costs for shipping in supplies. He was there ostensibly as a water monitor – to see if there were any suspicious drains on the water, either for usage or hydro-electric power. Water on earth was in short supply, although the Chinese in Hong Kong did alright. But really he was there to check on the town – what might be going on – what happened to the previous scout sent -was he murdered or just had an accident as was claimed. The town and the inhabitants began to affect him as he saw what they felt, what they did to make it work, and how he started to like them. He bought, at one point, a picture of a dachshund named Hildegarde, that was an important reference point for him throughout the book. This background stuff is important, as it made me who he is and affected his choices and actions. As he descended through what turned out to be millions of tiny spheres, on three levels, and was almost killed, he sort of crash landed in an area near the sea, and began to walk toward what he thought might be habitation, as he found some trails. He didn’t know what happned to the other four agents who had gone down in pods with him. The rest of the story is about his experiences on Haze, how he questions what he sees, begins to understand, tries to report back, but was brushed aside, and what the true goals of the federation were. A really good 4 1/2 star SF book – the first I had read by this author. Will be looking for more. Any errors in the accuracy of my summary are due to the fact that I read it almost a week ago, and thus most of it is a haze. 😉

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