Acquired Book By: I was invited to participate in Julie E. Czerneda’s #futurespasttour wherein I am continuing my readings of The Clan Chronicles where I left off last November. I participated in the #timeandstarstour on behalf of the seventh volume of The Clan Chronicles ‘This Gulf of Time and Stars’. I reached out to the author to sort out a way to read her entire series spilt between two trilogies: Stratification (the prequel) and The Trade Pact (inaugural trilogy) which launched the series as a whole. She offered to have DAW Books send me the series in paperback editions which I was blessed to receive and would have finished reading if I had hadn’t taken ill shortly after I read “A Thousand Words for Stranger”. Due to personal reasons between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016, I was not able to continue my readings until now. I have spent a lot of hours contemplating what ‘comes next’.
This year, I reached out to her publicist at DAW (at the author’s suggestion) to receive “The Gate to Futures Past” to conclude the scope of the series ahead of the final novel. I spoke to Ms Czerneda about completing my readings of her beautifully conceived hard sci-fi series by releasing my reviews of the books in graduated succession during the #futurespasttour; she agreed it would be a great way to celebrate. Therefore, ‘Ties of Power’ kicks off my showcases on Monday, 22nd of August, followed by ‘To Trade the Stars’ on Tuesday, 30th August finishing ‘the Trade Pact Universe’ trilogy. I am anchouring the Reunification reviews together on 1st & 2nd of September.
I received a complimentary copy of ‘To Trade the Stars’ the first novel of original trilogy better known as The Trade Pact Universe. I was not obliged to post a review or share my impressions or opinions on behalf of these stories. I am posting my thoughts for my own edification and to help encourage new readers to meet the characters Czerneda created especially if like me, they are discovering The Clan Chronicles for the first time!
On where we left off into The Clan Chronicles:
As I disclosed on my review of Reap the Wild Wind this is my first reading of the works by Julie E. Czerneda. This is my continuing journey deep into the heart of The Clan Chronicles whilst conversing on Twitter via the tag #whoaretheclan. Occasionally alternating with #TheClanChronicles and #futurespasttour.
The greater good in regards to Drapsk society was underpinned by their innocence and their desire to re-claim their own legacy. This is something that Sira noted on their behalf as she was becoming more familiar with their beliefs, customs and traditions whilst caught up as a Contestant in their search for the Mystic One. I could gather from the offset this was a pivotal moment for her as much as the Drapsk as they were not one to bend to logic or for any assertions on her behalf (as she questioned how they could view her as a special person of interest to their race) to test the theories of their culture. I had a feeling the Drapsk had a continuing story-line moving forward with as much of the importance as the state of the Clan itself. As mentioned in this snippet of my review:
The continuity moving through the Trade Pact is as bang-on brilliant as the one I had found in Stratification! You can see the stitchings of how this installment was cast within the previous volume, but so too, how Czerneda has carried forward the counter-measures of Sira’s Clan to act both for her interests and against her at the same time. There are two factions brewing closer to war – a war of mind, power and control, such is the way of the Clan. If they cannot control their source of power and the succession of the channels of where the power is funneling through each new generation, the Clan feels they have failed. Theirs is always a battle to achieve more and stabilise the insurrection that began the moment Sira felt she was strong enough to overtake the Clan’s Council. In some ways, I think she could have if she wasn’t knocked down along the way by those who would seek her help only to back-stab her in the end. A curious tenure of moving forward only to feel as if your moving backwards at a pace that is not set by yourself but by those whose intentions are never fully in view of your own mind. – quoted from my review of Ties of Power
The Clan itself was undergoing changes in its power structures – not in their sources of energy per se but in the structure of how they organised themselves. They had certain people at key levels of control who were not acting with the best interest of the Clan but rather their own motivations towards completing their own acts of harming the continuity of the Clan’s organic growth and evolution. At the heart of the conflict is the insistence that all changes within the fabric of the Clan’s biometric existence cannot be altered, changed or evolved. They are quite fastidious about not wanting any of their kind to ‘out best’ each other or to find a new level of existing that is not known to the collective of the Clan.
Counter-current to their biologic growth patterns is the rarely spoken fact Humans in this sector of the universe are experiencing their own set of changes, too. The hint towards that end was in the telepathical instincts foreseen in Morgan (Sira’s beloved) and how he was able to harness the power within his mind; even if for most of his life he walked in the darkness of not understanding it’s worth. This changed in perception and understanding when he crossed paths with Sira but evenso, now that he has embraced his power of telepathic thought energy, the difficulties now lie in being able to have self-control when he is at the height of his angered state where emotionally he experiences energy spikes in his behaviour. He’s not the best for wanting to temper his reactory instincts but without a modicum of self-control, his gift could become his downfall; which he well understands.
There was a moment of compassionate empathy in the middle of Sira’s time on the Drapsk homeworld that truly left such a strong impression on me as I read the trial of her choice. She felt with all of her emotions now that she was a fusion of both of her past(s); the one who was known as Sira Morgan and the one who was known to the Clan. Hers was not an easy life to walk but somewhere along this complicated route she had grown in the strength of understanding selfless acts of compassion. What she did for a species she had never encountered before was sombering and how she did it was such a beautiful testament of how the M’hir could be used for good rather than for evil. (all of this is contained in Chapter 25)
Shortly thereafter, we were encompassed by how the M’hir can function outside of its usual pursuit; having a lifeblood of its own accord and a particular standard of existence. Yet I oft felt how the M’hir worked or even interacted with others outside of the Clan was still being disclosed one story at a time. This is what was so incredibly layered about the series overall; Czerneda teases you at first with forehand knowledge that is necessary to dig inside the hard sci-fi elements she is expanding on per each installment, but then, you will find yourself arriving at passages such as the ones in Chapters 29 and 30.
This is one of the biological pathways of Czerneda’s breadth of expansion within the Clan Chronicles; she encourages you to take second and third ‘looks’ at everything you think you understand whilst giving you a biological reasoning behind why certain ‘things’ can be affected by cause and effect disturbances which seek to risk the status quo. It’s this compelling argument that has real-world applications if you seek to re-articulate what she’s trying to show you about how living environments are far more complex than what humanity understands on the superficial level of their complexity.
Synopsis on the Back Cover:
Jason and Sira
he a human telepath and independent trader, she now Speaker for the Clan Council, as well as Jason's life partner - are trying to forge a life for themselves free of the demands of both the Clan and the Drapsk, a race determined to claim Sira as the long-awaited Mystic One. And as if these conflicting demands aren't making life complicated enough, there are at least two other factions with far more dangerous intentions seeking them out.
Any hope Sira and Jason have of charting their own course seems likely to vanish forever when they are unexpectedly caught in a conflict between the Drapsk and a mysterious race that dwells in the M'hir. With all of their energies directed towards this crisis, will they become easy prey for those among the Clan and the Humans who are already mobilizing to take advantage of the coming conflict?
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Reap the Wild Wind, Riders of the Storm, Rift in the Sky, A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, This Gulf of Time and Stars, Julie E. Czerneda Interview (#futurespasttour), The Gate to Futures Past, Guest Post (Web Shifters series) by Julie E. Czerneda, Guest Post: Julie E. Czerneda (Clan Chronicles Finale Tour), To Guard Against the Dark
Series: Trade Pact Universe
Genres: Science Fiction
Published by DAW Books
on 1st June, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Clan Chronicles:
- Reap the Wild Wind (Stratification trilogy, No.1)
- Riders of the Storm (Stratification trilogy, No.2)
- Rift in the Sky (Stratification trilogy, No.3)
- A Thousand Words for Stranger (Trade Pact Universe, No.1)
- Ties of Power (Trade Pact Universe, No.2)
- To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact Universe, No.3)
- This Gulf of Time and Stars (Reunification, No.1)
- The Gate to Futures Past (Reunification, No.2)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook