The third book in the Jacob’s Ladder series.

Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Narrator: Alma Cuervo
Running Time: 12 hrs 15 min

The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder is nearing the of its journey; a habitable planet, called Grail, is in sight. The inhabitants have survived warfare and have been in suspended animation for 50 years. Perceval Conn is the new captain, a merging of herself and a previous character. She is now the leader and she must make the difficult decisions. Because the planet is already inhabited. And to make matters more complicated, old enemies return.

The humans on the planet call it Fortune and the city Bad Landing. They think of themselves as very civilized. They’ve banned wars and violence, through technology called right-minding which make humans achieve emotional balance and sanity free of such ideologies as fanaticism, no matter what the cause. So, they’re afraid of the approaching ship which could be full of psychopaths, for all they know. But they decide to contact the ship as soon as possible. When they get an answer and the ship’s leader seems to be at least somewhat sane, they Premier Danilaw Bakare as their diplomat and captain Amanada Fryer as Danilaw’s bodyguard.

Grail is a story of two cultures clashing and the people in the middle of it all. The ship’s inhabitants see Grail as their promised land where they could finally rest. Some of them resent the people who have inhabited Grail before the ship reached it. The people of Bad Landing see the ship’s inhabitants as savages from the past who will be irrational and violent. But Perceval and Danilaw are trying to find common ground and look for a way to live peacefully together.

The people on Jacob’s Ladder live in a society which is a strange amalgam of medieval society and future technology; epic fantasy and science fiction. The people were sharply divided between the exalt, who have been made almost immortal with nanotech, and their ordinary human servants the means. And in the middle of it, is the Conn family, feuding against each other. But now, things are different.

This book introduces a cast of new characters. Some reviewers commented that they came in too late and took up “screen time” from familiar characters. However, I was very interested in the conflict they made and I was also fascinated by their culture which we get to know a bit more during the story.

However, a lot of the character interaction depends on knowing the previous history of the familiar characters, so I’d recommend reading “Dust” and “Chill” first. “Grail” has the same sense of wonder and great weirdness as them.