Emerald Eyes

by Daniel Keys Moran

Cover image

Series: Continuing Time #1
Publisher: Quiet Vision
Copyright: 1987, 1998
Printing: February 2002
ISBN: 1-57646-638-8
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 281

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This is the first book of the Continuing Time series, a huge and ambitious world that unfortunately has stalled out at three books plus a fourth unpublished one. Emerald Eyes is the story of the creation of the first gene-engineered humans and the first telepaths, introduces Trent as a character, and introduces the reader to the world.

Emerald Eyes is pure space opera (even though it takes place entirely on Earth). There are good guys and bad guys, the bad guys are truly evil, the action is frantic, and there isn't much moral ambiguity. It's also about as subtle as a truckload of bricks. I could feel and understand the anger of the characters, really started feeling empathy for the telepath children, and wanted revenge against their enemies nearly as much as Carl did, but I enjoy space opera with a fairly blunt plot. Others with different taste may find this a little too black and white or emotionally manipulative.

Woven into the story is a time traveller from the far future, hints at the Time Wars and their impact on the events of the book, and little glimpses of a larger context. This feels a bit jarring in Emerald Eyes; it's clearly setting the stage for later events in the series, but while a time traveller meddles in a small number of key events, this subplot doesn't have a lot of impact or relevance to the overall story. I did like the feeling of the story being told from a distant future, though, and the occasional tidbits of foreshadowing tossed in gave the setting a neat bit of depth.

This book covers a large span of time for its fairly short length and has a lot of main characters, which in the beginning left me a bit confused. This does get better farther into the book, as the story focuses more and more on Carl Castanaveras, but it continues switching viewpoint characters through to the end. The version of Emerald Eyes that I read includes the short story "The Star" at the end of the book, which switches to follow Trent exclusively, foreshadowing The Long Run. If you get a copy of the original publication from Bantam, it won't have this part, which for me added some much-needed closure. I recommend finding the Quiet Vision publication instead.

I read the second book of this series, The Long Run, before this one, which in retrospect I don't recommend. There are some advantages, in that puzzling out the background while reading The Long Run and then learning more about what happened while reading Emerald Eyes can be fun, but the books read better in order.

The Long Run is a better book with more depth. Emerald Eyes is mostly a political thriller set in a somewhat dubious future (I still don't buy a World War that left the French running the world), with a heavy dose of telepaths. It's suspenseful and engrossing, though, and it's a good introduction to Trent as a character (particularly if you read the version with "The Star" included).

Followed by The Long Run.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Reviewed: 2004-09-29

Last modified and spun 2014-12-21