Cover by Jim Burns
Crossfire is Nancy Kress‘ first book in a duology about the travellers from Earth to Greentrees. They have all pooled their resources so they can get away from an Earth where the people are rapidly self-destructing. All Greentrees needs is a bit of terraforming for humans to be able to enjoy it fully. But the people who have travelled to Greentrees have done so for various reasons and their personalities are more or less suited to this type of adventure.
Jake Holman and Gail Cutler are the group’s leaders. However, there are subgroups. These are the New Quakers, the Environmentalists, the New Cherokees, the Islamists, the modified Soldiers, the scientists and Jake the lawyer. Once they begin to settle on Greentrees, the New Cherokees take off as planned. Their aim is to live as indianlike as possible and to have a little as possible to do with the rest of the humans. The majority of the humans try to keep their differences in check and work together on building a town to live in.
However, any new world is bound to have some trouble for the arrivals and on Greentrees it just happens to be a group of primitive humanoid aliens. In spite of there being more than one group of these aliens, it does not seem as if they are native to Greentrees. The various groups of aliens behave very dissimilar to each other even though they share genetic material.
The humans who had thought themselves alone in this arm of the Galaxy discover that they have now, in fact, become embroiled in an interstellar war. The side chosen by the humans will also decide the fate of humanity.
I quite liked Crossfire. The characters were a bit much at times but I liked the way Kress presented different types of conflict and the resolution to them (where that was possible). There was plenty of action and psychology in this novel. Preaching was present but not to the point where it got annoying.