Science fiction writer, STM editor, planetary science geek
Earth has sent out exploratory expeditions in a desperate attempt to discover the nature of an alien force that has wiped out the intelligent inhabitants of at least one extrasolar world and now threatens Earth itself. As it nears its destination, one of these ships is raided by aliens while its crew is helpless in cold sleep. Light years from Earth and with no hope of rescue, the few survivors are marooned among the inhabitants of the icy world of Windhome, which was attacked from space only centuries before. The survivors’ descendants still live in fear, and many see the humans as a threat. The humans must struggle to stay alive, to understand this harsh world and its few, grim people—and, somehow, to fulfill their mission and send a warning to Earth.
Thrown into an unwilling alliance with a Windhome outsider faction, exiled into wilderness, two of the human crew must live by this world’s bitter laws, accept the ways of its people, and, in the end, make a terrifying choice.
Windhome is character-driven SF adventure in the grand tradition, set against the backdrop of an unforgettable world. Formats include Kindle and trade paper, with the cover by Hugo award–winning artist Julie Dillon.
After an eight-year hiatus, Landon (The Dark Reaches) returns with a complex fourth novel that combines dystopian and first-contact themes. . . . This is a quiet, tense book, saturated with dread.
Sent to learn more about the aliens that already destroyed one civilization and now threaten Earth . . . the human crew face a strange world, harsh rules, and must adjust to survive—or die. . . . This striking tale of survival and fortitude in an icy, alien world by the author of the “Hidden Worlds” trilogy is recommended for readers who enjoy character-driven stories.
—Kristi Chadwick, Library Journal
Dispatched from Earth to find information to defeat an unknown space-faring race that threatens, only three of the 16 crew survive to awake after 40 years of cryogenic sleep. . . . Landon’s worldbuilding skills shine. . . . But the costs of their mission are high, and sacrifices must be made.
—Karen Sweeny-Justice, Romantic Times
[A]bove and beyond the aliens as a species, it is the relations and personalities and personality conflicts that really drive the novel and propel a reader to continue the narrative. As fully fleshed out as their human counterparts, the aliens of the book come alive as they react to and have to deal with the sudden appearance of three people from the sky. . . . Although a comparison to Ursula K. Le Guin is obvious, I really think it’s Eleanor Arnason, with her Ring of Swords and A Woman of the Iron People, that Landon’s work most resembles in my reading oeuvre. It is a corner of Space Opera that is not quite as explored as it could be, and for me, Windhome is a welcome addition to it.
—Paul Weimer, Skiffy & Fanty
Windhome delivers a page-turning epic journey of human survival through a maze of alien politics and environmental challenges. Its cultural worldbuilding is fascinating, detailed, and nuanced in a way that may remind readers of George R. R. Martin, Poul Anderson, or C. J. Cherryh. We should see more from Kristin Landon.
—G. David Nordley, author of After the Vikings
Only here, on all of Windhome, was music studied as an art. Here the crowds were smaller, but they stood in silence to listen. The music troubled Pierre. The men’s deep, warm voices shaped long, curving branches of melody over a firm ground. It was music potent with mystery, heavy with the considered grief of years. The strange scale, like and yet unlike any music of Earth—the sense of searching, searching, for a center, for return, and just as it seemed the music might come to rest there, the voices would fade....
Pierre knew what he was hearing in that music, and behind that music. He could not allow the dark, ravenous longing for home to begin again. Yet the memories came: The songs and dances in his village, handed down from generation to generation on the fringe of the Covenant world. The singing in the church at Christmas. And at last, his own son’s face, pinched with distress—Why are you going away? Was I bad? Pierre knotted his hands together, gripped until the bones hurt.
He could not allow himself to remember that now. He straightened, stood firm, watching Kelru’s tall figure moving through the crowd, always looking down. And still he listened to the music. The words were simpler than the harmonies that carried them. Perhaps if he concentrated on the words— The singers’ faces were intent, disciplined. Over those mountains is my home, they sang. In this broad valley is the land where I will die. Worldwind, carry my ashes high. Carry them higher than those mountains, O wind.
Pierre’s breath caught in his throat and he looked up, up at the stars, which trembled at first, trembled and then stilled as he won his battle yet again. Thousands of stars burned there, a bitter glory. He had never seen such stars in the dusty skies of Earth. Here the night was a flawless emptiness between himself and infinity. He stood exposed on the backbone of an alien world, waiting for death to find him. To find them all.
Kristin’s previous books
About the author
Cover reveal at Candlemark & Gleam