On the planet Stratos, women are dominant – both in numbers and in social status. Reproduction is mainly by cloning, and clans of genetically identical women form the main part of Stratos society. The main role of the male minority is as sailors in the shipping guilds.
Maia is a “var”, a girl conceived by sexual means, which means she is different from the other members of her clan. When she reaches adolescence, like all vars, she and her twin sister must leave their home, and find their own place in the world. They begin by taking working passage on a ship. But Maia gets separated from her sister, and finds herself caught up in an adventure of political intrigue, getting kidnapped, being attacked by pirates, and making friends. And news comes of a visitor from space – from Earth and its colonies – centuries after the founders of Stratos had deliberately cut themselves off from Earth. What effect might such a visitor have on Stratos society?
The book goes into great detail of the society, and its politics and philosophy. The adventure element keeps the interest going, with lots of unexpected twists in the story.
I found this book intriguing and absorbing, and can recommend people read it.