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Powers That Be (Petaybee, #1)
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Powers That Be (Petaybee #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,767 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
Major Yanaba Maddock wasn't much good to the company anymore. With lungs practicaly destroyed by poison gas in a military debacle, she could barely breathe without coughing, much less do anything the least bit strenuous. But it wasn't the company's way to discard those they might still find some use for... and so they retired Yana to the icy planet Petaybee to do their spy ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published June 8th 1993 by Del Rey (first published 1993)
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Best Sci-Fi/Futuristic Romance
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 08, 2010 Minh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Anne McCaffrey is one of my guilty pleasures. Her Brain Ships series is probably one of my favourite SF series to read, and I'd thought for certain that I'd read most of her early trilogies. Powers That Be has never been a favourite of mine (I think the Crystal Singers is way up there though), I do own one or two of the novels from the Powers series, but for some reason it doesn't pull me as strongly as her other books do.

Yana, the main character is a battle stricken veteran who is sent to Peta
Alysha DeShaé
Jan 29, 2011 Alysha DeShaé rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
My full review is here on my personal website. I'll post my conclusion here, though:

4.5 out of 5.0 stars

So, why did I knock off half a point? I think the relationship between Sean and Yana is a little rushed. I guess with everything else that goes on in the story that both characters are involved in that it just feels like they don’t have time to try to be a couple.

However, this book is incredible! If I had a physical edition of this book it would go on my special bookshelf. One day, I will own
Feb 03, 2011 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm a big fan of McCaffrey anyway, but this book is particularly strong. The premise has a breath of native american or druidic intent, but in that way anne has of making it all bigger than life.

After you get comfortable with the scenery (not a difficult task), the plot really takes over. You're pulling for the characters the whole time. I loved it.
Barbara Klaser
I was surprised that I could come to like a setting that was mostly ice and snow! But once again McCaffrey, along with Elizabeth Scarborough this time, created a world that I could live in, and especially characters that I could love. I think my favorite is Bunny, the teenaged snocle driver who first befriends Yana Maddock and becomes her guide to this frozen world.

While the story is science fiction with a little fantasy, there's almost a spiritual aspect to it. It presents us with a planet that
Gail Carriger
Dec 12, 2011 Gail Carriger rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
Oddly apt for a winter read, this book centers on Major Yanaba Maddock, a disabled veteran, sent to the icy planet Petaybee to die, but also on one last mission, to spy on the locals and find out what is really going on there. This book has a naive sweetness to it. It reminds me of early McCaffery books, like the Dragonsinger series. (Which is also my favorite of her work, and feels very YA to me.) Or even like a Mercades Lackey book. The story-line features a native culture full of good people ...more
Jul 19, 2009 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-choice
I enjoyed re-reading this book, having just finished the Twins of Petaybee which is a sequel trilogy. It's been years (10?) since I last read it and I can't wait to get my hands on the other two in this first trilogy. Major Yanaba Maddock, her lungs badly damaged in a military incident, is being retired to an out-of-the way planet populated by "ips", short for "inconvenient people". Strange things happen to Company investigators looking for the planet's supposedly rich resources, and Yana is ask ...more
Daniel Millard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off really promising and was mostly good. And then the ending was truly awful. Everything I hate about fantasy and romance packed into just a few chapters. Ugh.
(view spoiler)
Christal Lavery
Jun 02, 2015 Christal Lavery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As joyful a read as my first Pern novel didn't think it possible

I have read all the pern books more than once and thought it was not just Pern but the tantalizing mix of dragons,riders, telepathy and music that held me. It is really grand descriptive storytelling with all those elements making the created planet and characters jump to life which holds me. All the best of Mccafrey and Scarborough storytelling alive and thriving onPetaybee. Off to buy book 2 and recommend it to you.
Dec 11, 2012 Doris rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
One of the reasons I picked this up is, at the time it was written there were few good stories involving female veterans, at least not as the central character. In this, we have a female veteran who has been "released" from active duty, and sent to the planet Petaybee to recover from an injury she suffered in the line of duty. Like any military service, the release has a few conditions, in this case Yana is to spy on the colonists and report back on why the company is not seeing the results (pro ...more
This book is. . . well, it's ok. It's not going to change your world in any way, profound or otherwise, but if you have to point your eyes at something for a while, you could point them at a lot worse things than Powers That Be.

The mostly inoffensive story begins on the frozen ice world of Hoth - er, Petaybee, that is - where our hero, Major Yana Maddock, has just been transferred. Maddock is on a forced medical retirement, having been seriously injured, as well as the lone survivor, of some pr
Feb 07, 2013 Al added it
From Publishers Weekly

A frontier society outwits a big, uncaring parent company in this appealing joint venture by McCaffrey ( Damia's Children ) and Scarborough ( The Healer's War ), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning representatives of two generations of science fiction writers. Major Yanaba Maddock, medically retired with severely damaged lungs after military action aboard a space station, is pressured into acting as a spy by her employer, the sinister Intergal corporation. Colonel Giancarlo

Brian Schiebout
Powers That Be by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the first book set in the Petaybee universe. The book is a romantic science fiction story whose main character Yanaba Maddock discovers that her life may not be over after all when she is sent off to the world of Petaybee. When the story begins her lungs are shot from poison gas which she inhaled during an insurrection on a planet where she was serving as company military. As a result she is discharged and sent to the ice planet o ...more
Kate Lansky
Oct 23, 2009 Kate Lansky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is my favorite in the trilogy and, looking back on it, probably was a big influence on my own writing. I think this was likely one of the first books I read that looked at things from an anthropological viewpoint, showing me the reader how to look at a world as an outsider.

I read the book at a time when I was very into all things green - and as such, and being younger, the heavy-handedness of the preservation message didn't quite register as such. I read the book, agreed with the message, a
Feb 22, 2015 Catsalive rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I enjoy this series set on Petaybee. I love the relationship the inhabitants have with their planet. It's fascinating to watch Yana's health improve as she spends more time with the people and the planet. There are various plots to rape Petaybee of it's natural resources, & Yana & the locals must fight to prevent it. There are lots of likeable characters, but the most likeable is Petaybee itself.

Rated 7/10, or 3.5 stars if you like.
Kyra Dune
Powers That Be is a little strange, but interesting. I didn't find myself really connecting with any of the characters and I'm not sure why. Some of the elements of this story are definitely unique, at least in my reading experience. This is a nice, light science fiction story with a little romance and mystery thrown in for good measure. Not a bad book at all, but it simply didn't catch hold of me enough to make me want to buy the next book in the series.
Kickarse Heroine
I was intrigued by a science fiction story that was completely based on an ice planet whose inhabitants were far from ordinary. The leading character grew in strength and curiosity and found a family and a place to call home. And when her new home became threatened to the point of near mass genocide, she took it upon herself to stand up for the whole planet.

Enjoyed the read.
Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)
Apr 05, 2016 Barbi Faye (The Book Fae) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy readers
Recommended to Barbi Faye (The Book Fae) by: me
Strange things were happening on the icy planet called Petaybee. Unauthorized genetically engineered species had been spotted, while some people were simply disappearing. None of the locals were talking to the company, so the company sent disabled combat veteran Yanaba Maddock to spy. But a strange thing happened. With her relocation to the arctic planet came a return of Yana's health and strength. And the more she got to know the people of Petaybee, the more determined she became to protect her ...more
Mike Franklin
A good story well told as I would expect from McCaffrey, but why does she insist on presenting independent minded, strong heroines that then turn to jelly the minute a handsome man appears on the scene? She doesn't do this to the men so why does she always seem to do it to her women. It's so annoying it completely puts me off the book.
Mar 13, 2016 Marianne rated it liked it
Shelves: gone, sci-fi
A decent read about life as a female veteran on an arctic planet. It has a bit of a druid/eco spin to it, which was a nice change of pace for an otherwise militaristic colonizing book. Kind of sappy at the end, and it sounds as if this book is the best in the series.
Mar 31, 2013 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: McCaffrey fans, SF fans
Shelves: sciencefiction
The start of a series about genetic adaptations to cold weather planets. The main character is pretty well done and likeable, the world is interesting, and if it weren't for that fact that it was a subarctic climate, Utopian.

The book is a little preachy in the pro-environment sense, which doesn't bother me that much since I do feel that most corporations exploit the environment and their employees. But if that part of the writing doesn't bother you, then enjoy.

Mostly, it is a good story told in
Nov 28, 2015 Suzanne is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
i love anne mccaffrey, i loved all her dragon books (except the ones with her son, ugh) loved her crystal trilogy and her singing ships too. hopefully this trilogy will be just sweet and quaint and readable.
Blake Baguley
This was great fun to read and makes you a just a tad suspicious about where they got the idea for Avatar from. The one thing I didn't like was how they felt they had to spoon-feed you every plot development. Most of the foreshadowing seemed more like forescreaming, with the result that nothing really shocked you when it finally occurred (after the 10th blatant hint). Or maybe I've just read too many McCaffrey books in a row. That's probably why I'm sick of every character's eyes dancing, flashi ...more
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
I enjoyed this book where once again we are pioneers on a new world, trying to cultivate the land. I find this concept interesting and I enjoy it so much when it is fantasy. Somehow, when it is the "wild west" westerners I am totally turned off. Anyway, back to this story, I wanted to learn more about the planet - Petaybee. It is kind of the Mother Gaia concept. I liked Yanaba and her snarky attitude. After reading so many of Ms. McCaffrey's books, I'd have to say that her heroines may have diff ...more
Mar 02, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
1995 grade A
2011 grade A+

Series book PL1

written with Scarborough
Jan 30, 2011 Grace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly not the best of McCaffrey's series. I like Yana's military background and the worldbuilding, but this book and the one following are pretty flimsy. There's a lot of Celtic/Inuit stuff, and some political maneuvering, so McCaffrey was certainly still involved during "Powers That Be" and probably also "Power Lines". Quite a bit more heavy breathing than usual, and the mysticism comes right up against being too ooo-ee-ooo for my tastes. Without the military and political elements, I would ...more
Laura Lough
Not McCaffrey's best work but still enjoyable.
Anne Wall
Jul 20, 2014 Anne Wall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First and best one of this set
Mollie *scoutrmom*
The theme of this seems to be corporate ethics. We have a version of manifest destiny in space bumping up against non-scientific forces. The humans who believe the truth are unable to convince their superiors of the facts since known science seems to contradict their stories.

Instead of a government being in charge, it is the profit-seeking heartless corporate entity that is the Powers That Be of the title.

A great adventure story with a love story in the background.

Now I want to read more of the
Dave Nichols
Interesting twist.
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Gail Carriger Fan...: May 2016: Powers That Be by McCaffrey & Scarborough 2 15 May 02, 2016 07:09AM  
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Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 1:30 p.m., in the hour of the Sheep, year of the Fire Tiger, sun sign Aries with Taurus rising and Leo mid-heaven (which seems to suggest an early interest in the stars).

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two
More about Anne McCaffrey...

Other Books in the Series

Petaybee (3 books)
  • Power Lines (Petaybee, #2)
  • Power Play (Petaybee, #3)

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