The crew of Pegasus reaches a colony once called Eden, now a home to genetic mutants and other monstrous creatures (e.g. politicians). Keeler leads a landing party on a long and dangerous journey to reach the mysterious Temple of the Z’batsu; an artifact of enormous power left behind by the original Commonwealth colonists that contains the explanation for this bizarre world and the even bizarrer creatures that inhabit it. On the way, Keeler and his party are joined by a scarecrow, a robot, and a human-lion hybrid who lost all his lands and status due to cowardice. Meanwhile, Redfire consorts with a witch.
Back on the ship, Goneril Lear's first-born son, Trajan Lear, undertakes a journey of discovery and mortal danger in Pegasus's UnderDecks, discovering a secret world most of the crew don’t know exists, and those that do know seek to cover up. There are a number of stowaways living in the unused industrial and cargo areas of the ginormous starship. One of the stowaways kidnaps Trajan, intending to ransom him in exchange for joining the regular crew. Goneril Lear dispatches two Centurions of Republic’s Secret Order, the Notorium, to retrieve her son, and kill anyone who gets in her way. Lear is aware of the presence of the stowaways, and is determined to capture them and put them off the ship.
Redfire, after assisting in the rescue of a group of runaway slaves, returns to the village of Green Witch and agrees to sleep in the tent occupied by the witch. He experiences a vivid dream in which he transforms into a dog and has sex with the witch-woman, who has also morphed into a dog. The next morning, he is found naked in the woods, covered with scratches. The witch is no where in sight.
EdenWorld is a large moon orbiting a ringed gas giant in the 10 223 Equuleus system. One hemisphere has been extensively terraformed, and consists of a large sea dotted with thousands of islands, ranging in size from a few tens of kilometers to several thousand square kilometers. These islands are divided up into over a thousand Prefectures, each led by a supreme leader known as the Scion. At the southern edge of this hemisphere is a large expanse known as the "Unfinished Lands." The opposite hemisphere was not terraformed. It is mountainous, marked by sparse vegetation and extremes of weather.
Trivia and Obscure References
- The plot of Book 2, EdenWorld, resembles the plot of the Wizard of Oz.
- Paul Ironhorse is named for a character in the obscure, defunct War of the Worlds TV series from the late 1980s.
- Have a good time … all the time.” Is a reference to the movie This Is Spinal Tap
- The inhabitants of “the Unfinished lands” bear names that are references to the Dysfunctional Family Circus website that ran between 1995 and 1997.
- Many place-names in Book 2, EdenWorld are derived from Japanese expressions and products. Chiban derives from Ichi Ban (Number One), Altima is a model of Japanese car, Scion is a model of Japanese car, Prefecture is a Japanese political division.