Fellow Exiles

Fellow Exiles by Harriet Bazley - 190,000 word novel focused on Cally. Cally tries to help recover a consignment of stolen medical supplies and gets caught up in something far more complicated.

Fellow Exiles - review by Judith Proctor

I have difficulty reading these days, so a zine has to be pretty absorbing for me to read all of it, especially when it doesn't even focus on my favourite characters (Blake and Avon). I finished this one in three days flat - not bad for 190,000 words.

It's primarily a novel about Cally. This isn't Cally the wimp, this is Cally the Auron who chose to go out and fight the evil of the Federation. This is also a Cally who finds her certainty tested as she finds evidence that the Federation may not be as bad as she supposed. She's caught in a difficult corner between her personal beliefs and the beliefs of others.

Harriet's writing has improved greatly since her first B7 novel (Not to Know). This novel has far more depth to it: the characters are better developed and the places feel real. When it's cold on the planet Insecution, you believe in it. This is at the grittier end of B7 fiction - people die, plots and schemes abound and nothing is entirely what it seems at first glance. Few characters are entirely good or bad. Many of the 'good' guys are dubious, and some of the 'bad' are all too recognisably human.

There are two original characters in this novel and both leave an impression. It's rare that I get to care much for original characters, but one of these in particular really got to me. Lanuv is a laid-back woman with a drug habit that she's convinced she has under control, but she has a friendly tolerence of strangers and I really got to like her.

I also got to like Travis. He's written as ruthless, but you come to an understanding of some of the things that made him what he is, and you really feel for him when he attempts to befriend someone who reminds him a little of himself as a younger man.

Jenna and Gan both get good roles to play here and it is Blake and Avon who are more to the margins. Both have their part to play; indeed Avon's cunning is driving one part of the plot, but those who want Avon to be a knight in shining armour (which, much though I love him, I have to admit he isn't) might prefer to read another zine. Blake comes off well in some regards - he's intelligent and that always goes down well with me as I can't stand writers who make him stupid - but I suspect some fans may feel his occasional capacity to be ruthless (as well as humanitarian) is out of character, whereas others may feel it hits the spot exactly.

The novel takes place between 'Redemption' and 'Shadow' and is effectively one episode in which a stolen consignment of medical supplies is the focus of everyone's attention. It all starts when Cally hears a telepathic cry for help from a fellow Auron...

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Last updated on 21st of December 2007.