Published Jan 2008, HarperCollins Publishers, 320 pp.
Running from poverty and hopelessness, Ramón Espejo boarded one of the great starships of the mysterious, repulsive Enye. But the new life he found on the far-off planet of São Paulo was no better than the one he abandoned. Then one night his rage and too much alcohol get the better of him. Deadly violence ensues, forcing Ramón to flee into the wilderness.
Mercifully, almost happily alone—far from the loud, bustling hive of humanity that he detests with sociopathic fervor—the luckless prospector is finally free to search for the one rich strike that could make him wealthy. But what he stumbles upon instead is an advanced alien race in hiding: desperate fugitives, like him, on a world not their own. Suddenly in possession of a powerful, dangerous secret and caught up in an extraordinary manhunt on a hostile, unpredictable planet, Ramón must first escape . . . and then, somehow, survive.
And his deadliest enemy is himself.
I absolutely LOVED this book. The first few chapters are a little difficult because you have to adjust to an almost foreign thought process established by the entity Ramon stumbles upon while surveying for minerals in the outback.
This clever tale weaves together so many things of human existence - what would you do if you were cloned, how would you respond if you were the original life form, and you met your clone? There are a few areas of unnecessary redundancy, but those are easily overlooked without pitching you out of the flow of the story. There are a few items, like the chupacabra that is more reptilian than animal, it just takes a little tweaking of the imagination. You simple declare that this is reality for this story because the plot, action and dialogue carry you along so easily. The final bit leaves you open to a twist, and I'm not going to issue a spoiler. Trust me, if you like sci-fi and the element of self-examination, potential recreating your life, and a little games-manship - you are going to love this story. Plus, George R.R. Martin is a big part of the writing style!
I hope you check it out. Until then, Ta!