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The Quintara Marathon 1: The Demons at Rainbow Bridge (The Quintara… (edition 1990)
The Demons at Rainbow Bridge by Jack L. Chalker
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In the start of another splendid adventure series, Chalker ( The Changewinds Saga ) posits a galaxy ruled by three multi-specied empires: the Exchange, based on (very) free enterprise; the Mizlaplan, where religious perfection is sought; and the feudal Mycohl. Humans are represented in all three. An Exchange vessel mapping a distant frontier finds demons--a common image in the folklore of all known races--in suspended animation and sends an emergency warning. Each empire dispatches a team to investigate. Three sections of the book, told from the perspectives of each of the cultures, describe team members and how they were created. The three vessels converge on the planet where the warnings originated to find the first expedition destroyed and demons gone. The end of the first volume leaves the Exchange team trapped in the demons' edifice, apparently a multi-dimensional tesseractok , about to follow the other two teams into unknown worlds. Chalker's humans and aliens, and their political credos, are extremely well drawn, the shifting points of view gaining sympathy for all three sides. The only villains so far are the demons.
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