This is the sixth in the excellent Retrieval Artist science fiction series. There is no major disaster this time. Just a very personal one.

Rhonda Shindo and her thirteen-year old daughter Talia are living on Callisto, on of Jupiter’s moons. The city is practically owned by the Aleyd Corporation and Rhonds works there as well. Fifteen years ago, she signed papers which turned out to be the death sentence to a group of larva from where the alien Gyonnesse’s children are hatched. Naturally, the Gyonnesse wanted compensation but the Alyed Corporation argued the case in court and Rhonda has managed to live in relative peace. However, now a bounty hunter or a Recovery Man, called Hadad Yu has come to her house and kidnapped her.

Rhonda is, of course, panicked and tries her best to escape from the Recovery Man’s ship. She is most worried about her daughter. The group of Gyonnesse have declared that she shouldn’t any children just like they don’t anymore. However, Talia is a clone of Rhonda’s “real” daughter and the Gyonnesse have a strict differences between real and false children. So far, they don’t think that a clone qualifies as a real child.

Talia didn’t know that she’s a clone and this revelation by the Recovery Man is a shock to her. Her whole life is turned upside down. According to so laws, she isn’t even a real human anymore. Added to that is the kidnapping of her mother in a society where a minor or a dependent aren’t allowed by law to be without guardian for long. The corporation has draconian laws about minors without guardians. Fortunately, Talia has two defenders: a compassionate police officer Z’Grongo (spelling? This is again an audio book) and a very expensive lawyer whom Rhonda had hired years ago. Then there is, of course, Talia’s father and Rhonda’s ex-husband: Miles Flint who doesn’t even know that Talia exists.

Miles Flint is looking through the files of his previous mentor, Paloma, and finds that for some reason Paloma has a lot of files about his dead daughter, Emmeline, and also about his ex-wife. This shocks him and he can’t leave things alone. He must find out all he can.

Miles has a relatively small role in the book and he’s just one of the secondary main characters. Rhonda and Talia and the main characters here and their struggle is very moving and in the end even startling. We also see a few familiar faces; while Nicole Riccie doesn’t appear, Miles’s favorite female lawyer from the previous book does have a minor role. Miles is apparently even working together with the journalist Ky Bowls and I can’t wait to see what their working relationship is going to be like. (Difficult is my guess.)

The Gyonnesse are a fascinating new alien race. They seem to have very distinct and different notions about reproduction. They also don’t communicate with mouths. The company is also a very ruthless organization.

Another excellent addition to the series!