I have a hoard of books, comprised of both my late husband’s and mine. I know it is a heavy hoard because we moved it all over the country before we settled. I was going to read all the James Alan Garner books in order of publication—I’m OCPD like that. But surrounded by all these books, I can’t seem to find the next Gardner book. I have all his others, so I’ll move on.
“Vigilant” was the first Gardner book my husband brought me. It began my love for Gardner AND birthed a family meme. It is the third book in Gardner's "League of Peoples" series.
Our heroine from “Expendable” is a guest star here, but our narrator and protagonist for this adventure is Faye Smallwood, a reformed juvenile delinquent. She lives on the planet Demoth, which is populated by both humans and Ooloms, a genetically engineered humanoid species. When Faye was a teenager, a plague decimated the Oolom population. Faye’s father, a doctor, discovered the cure for the plague but died soon after. Faye’s reaction to all this death was to become a promiscuous wildchild and then enter into a group marriage to escape her depressed mother.
As she nears forty, Faye decides she needs to make a difference in the world and joins The Vigil, a planetary organization of mediators who supervise the activities of the Demoth government. After seven years of training, Faye’s first assignment is supposed to be easy and safe: looking at the conditions and budgets of local water treatment plants. But at the first inspection site, assassins kill her partner. Faye escapes, but finds herself caught in the middle of several mysteries, only one of which is: in a universe where a murderer is considered a “dangerous non-sentient” and denied star-travel, how can assassinations occur?
Admiral Festina Ramos is part of the investigation into the assassinations and befriends our Faye, and heart-pounding adventure begins.
The family meme? You’re making me allergic.