Urbana, IL; Goldn Gryphon Press, 2001. 1st hardcover edition. Fine in fine dj. Humans have domesticated animals for thousands of years; in this novel, a spacefaring race descends on Earth to domesticate Mankind. The Lindauzi, an ursinoid race, came to Earth at the turn of the millennium in hopes that they could breed humans to become their emotional symbionts, without which they would revert to nonsentience. Technically superior, within a generation the Lindauzi dominate the Earth, running a breeding program designed to produce humans capable of full emotional symbiosis. The story takes place over the years 2125 to 2157, and deals with three main protagonists: Ilox, a human raised by the Lindauzi; Phlarx, his Lindauzi owner; and Caleb, Ilox's son, who is raised in the ruins of the twentieth century. The story alternates chapters between Ilox and Caleb, with "interchapters" to fill in details about the overall storyline. Ilox, raised to be the perfect "dog," comes to realize that there is more to life, and discovers the history of the Lindauzi arrival. The realization that Humans once were dominant causes Ilox to question other rules, and leads to his banishment. He is adopted by a tribe of wild humans, which still exist in small, hidden communities, and raises a small family. The symbiont bond proves too strong, and he is finally reunited with his Lindauzi bond-mate, Phlarx. Caleb, his son, is captured by the Lindauzi during one of their periodic pogroms against the wild humans, and undergoes training to be a performing animal. Finally, Ilox, Caleb and Phlarx come together as the structure of Lindauzi society unravels.
One of the interesting facets about this story is the numerous occurrences of the "what if" question. Small changes of opinion, belief, and/or outlook could have yielded to large, significant changes in the lives of the protagonists. This is a book that will leave one wondering. . . .
Cover art by J.K. Potter. SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR.