Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. Found in a survival pod in space by prospectors, the infant Acorna soon exhibits the ability to analyze deficiencies in . Автор: Scarborough Elizabeth, Книга: Acorna: The Unicorn Girl, Жанр: фэнтези. The vein of invention McCaffrey worked so effectively in her Pern series seems to have been exhausted. Collaborating again with Ball (after Partnership).

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It was the first published in the Acorna Universe series. Acorna is found in an unusual escape pod by three galactic miners, Gill, Rafik, and Calum. Raised by the three unlikely foster fathers, Acorna, a unicorn girl, matures almost to adulthood within three years. While she is growing up, the miners discover that their ‘daughter’ has magical powers such as the ability to clean air and water, heal the sick, and detect the slightest scent. Furthermore, she adorna extraordinarily smart, picking up everything quickly.

However, her unique looks and special powers make her an object of desire by many, be it for scientific studies or thr rare-item collection, or sex.

Gill, Rafik, and Calum, who are determined to protect their beloved Acorna at all cost, are forced to flee all over the galaxy to avoid her pursuers. The book chronicles their adventures together as they travel from system to system, planet to planet, eventually finding a planet that thrives on illegal child slavery. Virl Acorna is not about to let that continue without a fight, and she vows to free every last child on the planet.

The story opens with Acorna’s parents’ spaceship being chased by the Khleeviiinsect-like creatures who have preyed on the Linyaari race for some time. The little spaceship has nowhere else to run and the despairing parents take desperate measures.

Knowing that the Khleevii torture their captives, they decide to take a fatal dose of the soporific abaanyesetting a compression device, that will destroy their cruiser and anything else in its proximitywhen the Khleevii spaceship comes close.

They place their sedated youngling in a lifepod and eject it just before the defensive weapon triggers.

Acorna: The Unicorn Girl – Wikipedia

She will have a chance of rescue if the lifepod is not destroyed with her parents’ spaceship and that of the attackers. Otherwise, her dose of abaanye will keep her asleep until the air supply runs out and she asphyxiates.

The lifepod is transported by the compression event to an asteroid belt which is being mined by Declan “Gill” Giloglie the Third, Rafik Nadezda and Calum Baird in their ship, the Khedive. Detecting tbe in the lifepod, they bring it on board and open it, thus discovering the alien occupant, the Linyaari infant they name Acorna.

ACORNA’S SEARCH: The Further Adventures of the Unicorn Girl

At this stage, none of the Federated Sentient Planets uincorn has had contact with alien races, so although we, the readers, know of the Linyaari and Khleevithe humans in the novel do not. The asteroid miners elect to continue working until they have an economic payload and then return to “base”, Mercantile Mining and Exploration, to whom they are contracted.

This decision probably saves Acorna from a fate worse than death.

Before their return to MME, it is absorbed by Amalgamated Manufacturing, igrl rival corporation notorious for its questionable business practices.

Acorna is found to have unique abilities: Although she is humanoid, she has equine features, a silvery mane of hair and hoof-like feet. Her vocalisations are somewhat horse-like and her diet is exclusively vegetarian. Initially, unicon attempts to communicate in her native tongue, but soon adopts Basic, the standard language of the Federated Sentient Planets.

Although she asks for “Avi”, which the miners realise must mean her mother, later also stating that “Lalli” was on board the spaceship from which her lifepod was ejected, her foster fathers do not realise the extent of her language development and allow her to lose her earlier vocabulary.

When Acorna is given writing materials, she seems to produce similar script to that embellishing the lifepod, but the miners do not recognise the significance of this knowledge and it falls into disuse.

Acorna learns to read and write Basic instead. She matures quickly, learns rapidly and appears to have innate mathematical talents.

It is discovered that she can also sense the mineral composition of the asteroids her foster fathers are mining, detecting rhenium, a desirable resource, in “Daffodil”, currently being mined. This makes her contribution to the mining venture invaluable. By the time the Khedive has a full cargo hold and the miners decide to return to “base”, Acorna is an active, working member of the crew, having been with her adopted family for nearly two years when the Khedive returns to the former MME Base.

The Khedive docks at the Amalgamated Manufacturing Base to unload its cargo and take on supplies. The miners have notified Base of their adopted child and while they are attending to bureaurocratic procedures Dr Eva Glatt, a member of the Testing, Therapy and Adjustment Department, takes charge of Acorna.


Glatt makes assumptions about Acorna, based on her assessment of human children, concluding that Acorna has deformities, arrested development and mental deficiencies.

Dr Alton Forelle, a psycholinguist, recognises that Acorna may be a member of an alien species and is determined to experiment on her to further his theories on linguistic development, hoping that this work will earn him a university post. His assistant, Judit Kendoro, has sympathy for the child, but feels powerless to prevent the scientific investigations proposed. Meanwhile, having completed the questionnaires and ancillary paperwork, the miners seek out Glatt in order to have Acorna returned to them.

Glatt assures them that they are unsuitable as custodians of the child, explaining that the Personal Psychological Profiles of the miners show that Gill, Rafik and Calum are invalid guardians, based on acogna “obvious” problems, as evidenced by their occupation and concomitant lifestyle. Acorna, she says, needs surgical corrections for her differences and the removal unicor her horn is imminent. The miners are horrified by Glatt’s denial of Acorna’s alien status and insistence that their ward is a retarded, deformed human in need of specialised care, with a potential future as a menial worker in a sheltered workshop.

They are joined by Judit who was listening outside the door and Glatt is temporarily put out of commission while Acorna’s rescuers hurry to the surgical unit. Dr Forelle has already rescinded the order for surgery. Judit takes custody of the anaethetised Acorna from the surgical team and the miners pretend to hold her hostage as they return to the Khedive.

They offer to take Judit with them, but she elects to remain in her employment so that she can help her younger siblings, Mercy and Pal, escape child slavery on Kezdet, their home planet. The Khedive’s crew escape from Amalgamated, only to find that their ship is being claimed by the corporation as stolen. They determine to seek the assistance of Rafik’s wily Uncle Hafiz Harakamian to exchange the Khedive’s identity with a similar spaceship that crashed. Thus, the miners and their adopted daughter travel to Laboue, a planet known for its discretion and secrecy in such matters, thd with them the beacon exchanged with that of the dead ship.

Uncle Hafiz, an unscrupulous collector of rarities, is not to be trusted with Acorna’s unusual background, so Rafik pretends to have converted to Neo-Hadithianism, a retrograde religious sect who veil their women and practice polygamy. While Gill pretends to be Rafik’s business partner, an unbeliever, Acorna and Calum are represented as Rafik’s wives, swathed in the hijab, voluminous white robes that make an excellent disguise.

However, while grazing in Hafiz’s garden, Acorna is surprised by Rafik and Hafiz, unable to cover her horn before Hafiz sees it. The following morning, Acorna awakens before her foster univorn and returns to the garden, fascinated by the musical Singing Stones of Skarrness and attracts Hafiz’s attention.

He introduces her to the concept of betting odds when she reveals acornz mathematical understanding of fractions and is enchanted by her abilities. Determined to acquire this rarity, Hafiz insists, uunicorn barely disguised threats, that Unlcorn divorce her, allowing Hafiz to marry her, as part of the business negotiations.

This will provide a substantial discount on the transactions, which include re-registering the Khedive as the Uhuru, with appropriate records, converting the miners’ shares in Amalgamated to Federation credits and re-supplying the ship. The miners pretend to agree to Hafiz’s terms while planning their escape.

Once the economic manipulations are completed, Rafik “divorces” Acorna and a wedding banquet is embarked upon in anticipation of Hafiz’s marriage to her. Hafiz provides iced madigari juice as a celebratory drink in deference to Rafik’s Neo-Hadithian non-alcoholic principles.

Before any of the miners imbibe in this beverage, Hafiz is called away in response to a commotion caused by Aminah, former nurse to his acorrna son, Aforna, who has returned, minus his ears, from an unsuccessful attempt to take over the southern half of the continent. Acorna detects that the cups provided for them are doped and purifies the drugged juice.

Rafik exchanges Calum’s contaminated cup for Hafiz’s and when his uncle returns, the tables are turned and Hafiz falls victim to his own plot. While he snores peacefully, Rafik removes the holographic skimmer key and port pass from amongst his uncle’s robes so that they can return to their renamed spaceship.

Having swapped their spaceship’s beacon with that of another they found crashed into an asteroid, the crew come under the notice of Ed Minkus and Lieutenant Des Smirnoff, two “Guardians of the Peace”, the law-enforcement agency on Kezdet, the Uhuru’s new planet of xcorna. The backstory is that the miners had a negative interaction with these officers and Smirnoff holds a unkcorn. Smirnoff and Minkus were the officers who shot Sauvignon down.

Li’s personal assistant is Pal Kendoro, Judit’s and Mercy’s younger brother. Li sends Pal to investigate if Sauvignon is still alive, so the miners now have more people hunting them than Amalgamated Manufacturing and Hafiz Harakamian. Meanwhile, back on Laboue, Tapha learns that Hafiz plans to disinherit him in favour of Rafik.


He plans to resolve this problem by killing Rafik and sends Ioannis Georghios to entice the miners into a trap, but they are suspicious and elect to go to Greifen to mine iron ore instead.

Posing as Farkas Hamisen, Tapha files a damages claim against the Uhuru, so the miners travel to Nered to sell their load of titanium. While dining out on Nered, Tapha catches up with them and shoots Rafik.

Acorna revives him with her horn, witnessed by Pal, who has tracked them there. When Gir learns of Acorna’s action, he identifies her as a ki-lin, legendary beings revered in Li’s culture and asks Pal to bring the Uhuru and its crew to Kezdet.

Judit, now working for Li, is pleased to discover that Acorna is still alive, as a report to Amalgamated reported the Khedive and its crew as dead, crashed on the asteroid. Shopping for clothes for Acorna on Nered the miners are rescued from their pursuers, who have been tracking their credit account, by Pal, with assistance from the shop clerk. Pal joins them on the Uhuru and releases sleep gas to render the crew unconscious after they are underway to Kezdet.

Li has the mineral rights to Kezdet’s moons and wants the miners to set up lunar mining operations. On arrival, Judit invites Acorna and the miners to Li’s mansion. She is astonished that in the year since she last saw them, Acorna has grown from a child into a tall young woman. Jana, Khetala KhetiChiura and other children are slaves at the Anyag mine, kept near starvation and working long hours. Cowed and beaten, the children are afraid of ‘Old Black’, the mythological demon of ‘Below’ who makes children sick and the very real ‘Piper’, a wealthy man in league with the ‘Didis’, procuresses for Kezdet’s brothels.

Didi Badini and the Piper buy Kheti now who is too big to drag ore corves and Chiura, a very pretty little girl of about four, from Siri Teku, unicprn shift boss.

Book: Acorna: The Unicorn Girl

Jana is crippled by the beating from Siri Teku for trying to save Chiura and loses the will to live. Waking early, Acorna decides to go for a run and ends up on the other side of the river in a run-down commercial district where she encounters Chiura, who has escaped from Didi Badini with Kheti’s help, but been caught stealing food.

Realising, too late, that she has brought no money, Acorna is handed over to the Guardians of the Peace and insists that they take Chiura with them to Delszaki Li, who Acorna claims as her guardian.

After Li has paid off the Guardians, Pal and Acorna slowly extract her history from Chiura and resolve to track down ‘Mama Jana’, who cared for Chiura in the ‘bad place’ before the Piper and Didi Badini bought her. Acorna is horrified to learn about the conditions bonded child labourers must endure and wonders what would have happened to her if Calum, Gill and Rafik had not adopted her.

Li has already revealed his plan to rescue all the children and use the lunar mining bases as educational care facilities for the freed slaves. The three miners have undertaken the contract to implement Architect Martin Dehoney’s plans for the bases, but the Kezdet authorities are obstructing progress.

The search for Jana takes them to the Tondubh Glassworks, based on Chiura’s description of the ‘bad place’. They are accompanied by Nadhari Kando, Mr Li’s formidable bodyguard.

When they draw a blank, Pal rethinks the situation and they try Anyag mine.

Disguised as a new Didi, Acorna buys Jana and heals Laxme of her persistent cough, promising to return for her as soon as there is somewhere to take the all the freed children. Delszaki Li’s development of the Maganos Moon Base stalls because of obstruction at a high government level on Kezdet.

He decides to introduce Acorna into society, hoping that her come-out party might throw light on the situation. All the notables are invited to a glittering gathering and the Child Labour League members circulate among the guests.

Khetala rescued from Didi Badini’s ‘bonk-shop’Jana and Chiura watch the guests’ arrival from concealment and Jana recognises the Piper when he arrives. The children are terrified, but nevertheless raise the alarm by telling Calum that they can identify the Piper. When Acorna is introduced to Baron Manjari, he plants a poisoned kiss on her hand which she quickly neutralises.