When we last saw Alexis Vonderach in Frozen Sky it was the year 2113 and she had just made first contact with an alien race. The creatures that inhabit Jupiter’s moon Europa are referred to as sunfish by Earthlings and they live beneath the frozen surface. Earth had been taking resources from Europa for months before they realized that beneath the ice were hieroglyphics and tunnels. Vonderach and some other explorers met Europa’s locals and they were not friendly.
Flash forward three months and the sunfish and Earthlings have an uneasy truce. This is where we are in the opening of Jeff Carlson’s Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed. Tribe Top Clan Eight-Six has sent one representative who the humans call Tom to an underground module so they can learn more about Europa’s new visitors. Earth has sent Vonderach, together the two learn each other’s language but when the ground starts to quake due to Earth’s machines, the peace between humans and sunfish may be shattered.
Earth’s leaders start to debate what should happen next as more sunfish arrive with reinforcements. At this part of the book you see that every human in Frozen Sky 2 has their own agenda and only Vonderach is thinking of someone other than herself. War is about to begin between an ancient race who lives for violence and the greedy governments of Earth who only care about Europa’s raw materials.
Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed has a little bit of everything. At one point this book is an action adventure with the battle between sunfish and humans. it’s also a horror novel with Vonderach trapped in an underground room with a hostile alien and the betrayal that goes on later in the book. Later the book becomes a suspense novel with an insane robot that doesn’t know which species that it wants to destroy. It even workes as a political thriller with all the governments of the world and the scientists having their own agenda and manipulating each other to get what they need. Even the sunfish have tribes and agendas and battle each other to have the best living conditions. I really enjoyed hearing about how they lived.
I took Europa as a metaphor for early life on earth with sunfish representing caveman who battle for limited resources. That being said, you also see the supposedly advanced humans who still battle each other like the primitive sunfish. I loved how in the beginning of this book Jeff Carlson includes a timeline giving all the advancements of Earth throughout time and in this story you also see how sunfish civilization have risen and fallen over the centuries and you began to understand that they really aren’t that different.
Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed is an excellent novel on many levels. My favorite parts were the interactions between Vonderach and Tom as they try to work out deals and learn about each other. I also loved Vonderach trying to reason with the crazy robot that has the memories of the scientist she once worked with. Despite the great action and political intrigue in this novel it was the personal relationships between the different characters that I enjoyed.
Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed is the work of a master storyteller and a great example of what good Science Fiction should be.