Best-selling science fiction superstars Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle combine their talents with those of Steven Barnes in an extraordinary adventure of humankind’s first outpost in the farthest reaches of space. Light years from Earth, colonists land on a planet they name Avalon. It seems like a paradise - until native creatures savagely attack. It will take every bit of intelligence, courage, and military-style discipline to survive.
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A new generation is growing up on the island paradise of Camelot, ignorant of the Great Grendel Wars fought when their parents and grandparents first arrived on Earth. Setting out to explore the mainland, this group of young rebels feels ready to fight any grendels that get in their way. On Avalon, however, there are monsters that dwarf the ones their parents fought, and as the group will soon learn, monsters also dwell in the human heart. Avalon does not give up her secrets easily, and some of those mysteries are wicked as sin and blacker than the grave.
The oldest children of the settlers on Avalon are now in their late teens and want independence from their parents and guardians. And they especially don’t want them around for the initiation ceremony held on Black Ship Island for the younger children just reaching their teens. But when previously unknown creatures make their deadly appearance, things go horribly wrong.