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Synopsis

Five years have passed and the colony on the planet of Junction in the Iota Horologii System - commonly called Iron Horse - is thriving. Charley and Clarity of Purpose rule through a combination of indulgent compassion and benign neglect. The original ten thousand colonists are well ensconced but no more have, as yet, been brought from Earth.

A Constitutional Congress is held. A second shipload of colonists is to be transported so matters must be settled and whatever form of government decided upon codified. George Esterman and Catharine Virginia Petersen express their expected opinions, as do many others.

This middle volume of the Forbearance Trilogy documents the state of the colony and follows its progress for the next several years, describing the settlement’s flowering diversity as well as its continuing struggles. Rules are almost nonexistent and individualism is openly encouraged. However, the Han are still around and the paternal but autocratic Quanck present challenges of their own. Earth also has demands.

Whatever anyone’s interpretation of an “ideal” society, that vision can be accommodated on Junction but every form of sanctuary has its price. Freedom is never free and liberty requires constant attention and continual involvement. Anarchy can lead to its own dissolution and, at the very least, paradoxically requires planning and oversight. Day-to-day life is hardly rigorous or demanding, though, and that may very well constitute the colony’s biggest challenge.

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