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Good As Gone
Douglas Corleone
Timothy Miller

A Beautiful Friendship HC (Star Kingdom)

A Beautiful Friendship - David Weber This was a great science fiction story that should appeal to both boys and girls. Stephanie Harrington comes to the planet Sphinx with her parents. She is twelve. She is disappointed to leave her home planet of Meyerdahl but is eager to explore her new home. However, her parents aren't so eager for her to explore because Sphinx is largely a wilderness with at least two major predators - hexapumas and peak bears - who would find Stephanie very tasty. Climbs Quickly is a member of an intelligent native species. They have been watching the newcomers to assess their level of threat but haven't exposed their existence. His people are divided between wanting to make contact and wanting to flee deeper into the unexplored interior to get away from the strange two-legs. They are a telepathic and empathic, tool-using species. They also have a weakness for celery.When Stephanie's mother puts her on the case of the celery thefts she is hoping to distract her from her desire to explore the dangerous wilderness. But Stephanie unexpectedly discovers Climbs Quickly and somehow bonds with him. Later he rescues Stephanie from attack by a hexapuma after her glider crashes into the forest and she is badly hurt in the crash. In fact, they save each other from the hexapuma as they must fight it off until his clan arrives. In the fight, Climbs Quickly is badly hurt. Stephanie manages to contact her father - a veterinarian - who manages to save Climbs Quickly. The story is filled with wonder as these two intelligent species try to learn to communicate with each other. They also have to deal with a lot of politics. There are many who don't want to admit the existence of an intelligent species on the planet because it would ruin their plans to sell the land. There are others eager to capture these new creatures either to sell to zoos and private collectors or to dissect to see if they can learn the secrets of their telepathy. Stephanie and her parents need to gather allies to keep their new friends safe from the dangers.This was an exciting story. Stephanie is a smart and strong character. It is also fascinating to see the human invaders through the treecat's perceptions. I think students who like adventure will like this story. They will also be led to Weber's Honor Harrington series which deals with one of Stephanie's descendants and also has treecats.