Volume III – Acquired Traits

The third volume in the series, Acquired Traits, is a continuation of the second. The characters, setting and storyline flow seamlessly from it. In this volume, the threads that interlace the story are pulled tight into a dramatic climax. Events one thousand years earlier merge with the present and coalesce into a unified whole, telling a story of biological ascendancy with ancient roots and bringing a reign of terror in the present to an end.

Branded as murderers and forced into hiding in the jungle planet’s deepest recesses, pilot John Soledad, biologist Rachel Sanders and nurse Donna Applegate survive on their wits, frequent field remedies applied by Donna and occasional late- night raids on the colony’s storage warehouses for needed supplies. While the trio struggles to survive, another threat – one more virulent than the jungle’s life forms – threatens the very survival of the new colony. Rachel’s venom-induced visions are telling her something – revealing to her the terrible nature of the danger – and arousing what seem like memories of things and events ancient, dark and monstrous.

Like the second volume, the third is constructed in vignettes and subplots woven around a central theme. The subplots are designed to introduce new and interesting characters who play crucial roles in the outcome of the story or to carry the central theme forward. Each subplot can be interwoven serially, weaving an evermore-complex tale of intrigue and mystery where questions are posed and answers provided in a rich and fascinating alien environment. Mystery fans will find the story mesmerizing for its wealth of dramatic allure.

We discover in the third volume that the story is much more than the sum of its parts. The place, the context, and the subtext define the story too and the message embedded in it is about our role and place in the biological world. For those of us who may never have known in the first place, or for those who may have forgotten, it is a story that reminds us that we are at our most basic a species with a place in the great biological hierarchy.