Niven, Larry + Pournelle
book-date: 1993
cvr art:
cvr price:
(Tall) Hardcover
Lee MacLeod
Book= VG+
Dustjacket= near-Fine

The Gripping Hand - [I'm relying on excerpts from a review in Analog July 1993 for a decent summary]:
"When humans met them, they were appalled by the Motie's numbers, ferocity, cleverness, and adaptiveness. They were even terrified, and the earlier book ended with the blockade of the Motie system... The Gripping Hand...begins with intelligence agent Kevin Renner and agent/tycoon Horace Bury on stage. Both were involved in the earlier adventure. Ever since, they have been prowling the Empire, seeking threats to its existence. Now they are poking their noses into a system where the Motie expression "On the one hand... on the other hand... on the gripping hand" (a reference to the third arm they have on one side) has become suspiciously common. Before long they are at home in the heart of the Empire, listening to an astronomer, and promoting an expedition to the scene of the blockade to be sure it is working. They also want to check on the protostar, figure where the new emergence sites might be, and make appropriate arrangements if possible. There is a hint of a genetically engineered symbiote that might, for the first time in all of history, offer Moties a way to control their birth rate. They have barely reached the site of the new Alderson emergence point when the Moties appear, asking explicitly for none other than Horace Bury. Back when, you see, a Motie Mediator, a specialist in communication that mimics the mind and personality of a particular individual (rather like imprinting), had been assigned to Bury. After the humans left, it trained more Mediators, and the line of influence has been strong. There is hope for a peaceful solution to the crisis. But there are other Motie groups, some allied to the first group, some not, all scheming like a thousand Machiavelli clones on amphetamines. There is action aplenty, fast movement, space battles, and ultimately... ...Suffice it to say that despite a hackneyed political backdrop (that Empire), the Niven-Pournelle touch is as sure and as golden as it has ever been. There is even a very sane and very necessary point to it all: a species' peace and prosperity depend utterly on being able to control its reproductive urge. This is one you'll love." [-Tom Easton]