Tonkee and Hoa lag behind with you. It’s almost like the old days, except that now Hoa appears as you walk, gets left behind as you keep walking, then appears again somewhere ahead of you. Most times he adopts a neutral posture, but occasionally he’s doing something ridiculous, like the time you find him in a running pose. Apparently stone eaters get bored, too. Hjarka stays with Tonkee, so that’s four of you. Well, five: Lerna lingers to walk with you, too, angry at what he perceives as the mistreatment of one of his patients. He didn’t think a recently comatose woman should be made to walk at all, let alone left to fall behind. You try to tell him not to stick with you, not to draw Castrima’s wrath upon himself, but he snorts and says that if Castrima really wants to antagonize the only person in the comm who’s formally trained to do surgery, they don’t deserve to keep him. Which is… well, it’s a very good point. You shut up.
Third of a trilogy whose first two volumes both won the Hugo, and on this year's final ballot. I was among the very few who was not particularly grabbed by the previous two, and I'm afraid this one equally failed to grab me. I liked the mother-and-daughter theme, but I remain confused by the world-building and unengaged by the characters and indeed by the plot. Others will like it more than me, and they can get it here.