David Weber has started a young adult series set in the Star Kingdom of Manticore. The action concerns an early ancestor of Honor Harrington’s, Stephanie Harrington, and takes place about 350 years before the events described in the original series.
This one derives from an earlier story by Weber, and describes how Stephanie and her treecat, Lionheart, met, and adopted each other. You may be able to gather from the cover art that Lionheart is a rather intelligent creature. Treecats are small but sentient, and have intelligence and telempathic capabilities. Both this and the next novel that I’ll be discussing, Extremis, raise the issue of what constitutes personhood, and how do we determine what constitutes a person. If a species enjoys a different mode of consciousness than we do, would we be willing to concede that it has rights as people, and would we even be able to know that it has this different consciousness.
This is exemplified when one a rather obnoxious girl Stephanie’s age, she’s about 12 when the story starts, and about 14 when it ends, says that she wants a treecat as a pet. This is rather akin to someone wanting a cheetah or a panther for a pet, they’re beautiful but dangerous, and you’re a fool to regard them as anything but potentially dangerous.
There are no megadeaths in this one, though there is a particularly good fight involving Stephanie, Lionheart and his clan, and a hexapuma.
Next up, Extremis, a sci-fi novel set in the Starfire universe.