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Cover Summary Edit
- Fire in the forest–and a cry for help from a trapped and desperate alien mother! Unfortunately, this is one cry no human can hear. Stephanie Harrington, precocious fourteen-year-old Provisional Forest Ranger on the planet Sphinx, knows something is wrong from the uneasy emotion that is flooding into her from her treecat friend, Climbs Quickly. But though Stephanie's alien comrade shares a tight bond with his two-legs, whom he knows as Death Fang’s Bane, he cannot communicate directly to her the anguished call from one of his people.
- Still, their strong and direct bond of feeling may be enough. Stephanie and fellow ranger Karl Zivonik respond to Climbs Quickly's rising waves of distress. Fire season on the pioneer world of Sphinx has begun. But there are those who want to use the natural cycle of the planet for personal gain – and to get rid of the one obstacle that stands in the way of acquiring even greater land and power on Sphinx: the native treecats.
- Now it's up to Stephanie, Climbs Quickly along with their friends, family, and allies to prevent disaster and injustice from befalling a treecat clan. But in the process Stephanie must be certain to preserve the greatest secret of all. It is the knowledge that the treecats of Sphinx are not merely pets or servants, but are highly intelligent in their own right–that they are a species fully deserving of rights, respect, and freedom. And keeping the secret that will allow the treecats time to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with humankind.
- It all begins with the friendship of a girl and her treecat.
Almost three T-years has passed since Stephanie Harrington was adopted by a Sphinxian treecat whom she has named Lionheart. He has witnessed Stephanie grow into a clever and confident teenager. Yet Stephanie's move into adulthood comes at crucial time on many levels. Sphinx is undergoing "Fire Season" and Stephanie and her friend Karl Zivonik are constantly on fire duty to prevent the more dangerous brush fires from endangering the human population and the treecats. They personally save two treecat twin brothers, Left-Striped and Right-Striped, from such a fire and deliver them to Richard Harrington for treatment. Stephanie is also forced to contend with an official anthropological survey team that arrives in the Star Kingdom to study the treecats and determine whether or not they are sentient. Stephanie takes an immediate liking to Anders Whittaker, the teenage son of the survey team's lead scientist. Unbeknownst to her, Dr. Bradford Whittaker has intentionally brought his son along for that purpose, believing that he and his team would need to circumvent the "paternalistic" Sphinx Forestry Service and its attempts to shield the treecats and Stephanie from him and his team.
With her fifteenth birthday approaching, Stephanie is looking forward getting tested for her aircar piloting license the very same day. However, her parents have already planned a birthday party for her. While they have already invited her colleagues from the SFS as well as Dr. Scott MacDallan, his wife Irina and his treecat companion Fisher, she is told to invite any of her friends from the hang-gliding club, as her parents feel that she needs to spend more time with kids her age. Reluctantly, she invites the kids she gets along with best, as well as Jessica Pheriss, a newcomer to Sphinx. She is later horrified to discover that her mother had accidentally invited her least favorite person in the club, Trudy Franchitti, but her horror is forgotten she learns that Anders will also come. The party is a major success, as the hang-gliding club's members land at Stephanie's freehold and enjoy eating her mother's recent botanical experiments. It takes a serious dive however, when Trudy arrogantly expresses her hope that the survey team remain impartial about the treecats, as her wealthy family has much invested in the land the treecats live on. Stephanie shows considerable maturity in answering Trudy's comments without lashing out at her for her insensitivity and finds an unexpected ally in Jessica, who also looks upon Trudy with disfavor. In the aftermath of the party, Stephanie and Jessica become friends, with Stephanie discovering the Jessica's family is both large and poor, the result of her parents' wanderlust and her father being a "drifter". She asks her mother to offer Jessica's mother a job as a research assistant in her botanical experiments. Though her mother thinks Mrs. Pheriss might be a good fit, she cautions Stephanie about charity as her experience with Trudy has proven how it can backfire.
Meanwhile, Dr. Whittaker decides to study an abandoned treecat settlement without notifying the SFS, taking Anders and the rest of the team with him. Unfortunately he lands them in a nearby bog and their air van begins to sink. His assistant, Dr. Langston Nez manages to salvage much of their equipment from the air van but is seriously injured trying to get out. They soon discover that their communicators do not work and realize that they are stranded without anyone knowing where to find them.
The survey team's absence is eventually noticed by the spouses of two of its members and Stephanie, fearing for Anders, volunteers to search for them. The search is called off however when two large scale fires break out and Stephanie and Karl are called in to help. Though ordered only to observe and report upon the progress of one of the fires, Lionheart soon detects the presence of a whole treecat clan trying to escape the fire and frantically gestures for them to go help. It soon becomes obvious that the Damp Ground Clan is far more leery of the humans than other treecats and Stephanie is forced to call in "reinforcements" - her friends from the hang-glider club - while Lionheart tries to reason with the clan. They manage to contain the fire long enough to evacuate the clan in one of her friend's vans, though not before Jessica and another treecat are almost killed by an exploding tree, and bond during the experience. It is then that the clan suddenly hears from Left-Striped and Right-Striped that there are humans in their previous nesting place and that they are in danger.
Following Lionheart and the clan's gestures, Stephanie and her friends find the survey team just as a swamp siren, a dangerous local predator, is closing in. Before Stephanie can shoot the creature with her pistol, the treecat clan runs to the surrounding trees and begins emitting a caterwauling that drives the creature off. With the survey team and the treecats rescued, Stephanie manages to avoid any official sanctions for defying orders. Nez manages to live through the ordeal, which means the survey team can stay despite Dr. Whittaker's actions.
While Stephanie is overjoyed that Anders will not be leaving, Lionheart reflects upon how recent events have affected his people's attitudes towards humans, and how much larger his world has become.
An electronic Advanced Readers Copy (eARC) of the book was released online by Baen Books in late June 2012.
In September 2012, Baen published the teacher's guide to Fire Season, intended for middle school classrooms, as a free download.
Tennessee Bolgeo | Brilliant Images | Broken Tooth | Frank Câmara | Stan Chang | Calida Emberly | Dacey Emberly | Fisher | Jordan Franchitti | Trudy Franchitti | Geraldine | Kesia Guyen | Marjorie Harrington | Stephanie Harrington | Richard Harrington | Sanura Hobbard | Peony Rose Iwamoto | Virgil Iwamoto | Ainsley Jedrusinski | Left-Striped | Frank Lethbridge | Lionheart | Little Witness | Scott MacDallan | Toby Mednick | Morgana | Becky Morowitz | Langston Nez | Nose Biter | Jessica Pheriss | Naomi Pheriss | Chet Pontier | Right-Striped | Sapristos | Christine Schroeder | Gary Shelton | Springer | Stone Biter | Twig Weaver | John Qin | Anders Whittaker | Bradford Whittaker | Wide Tail | Valiant | Karl Zivonik
air car | Bright Water Clan | capri-cow | celery | Chief Ranger | cocoa | condor owl| Copperwalls | Chattanooga System | Damp Ground Clan | Hayestown family | hexapuma | Liberty University | Madeleine System | Makara River | Meyerdahl tree-bat | Painter family | peak bear | picketwood | Pulaski | Sankar System | Sphinx Forestry Service | Sphinxian swamp siren | Tasmania System | treecat | Trebuchet System | Twin Forks | uni-link | Van Mook System | vibro blade | Weeping River
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