Cape Grace (A Shaman's Tale Book 2) by Nathan Lowell
“Normal doesn’t really apply to people. The statistical distribution of characteristics are sometimes useful for looking at big pictures but are totally useless when dealing with the individual.”
Book 2 of Lowell's Shaman's Tale duology introduces Sarah Krugg, Otto Krugg's daughter, born post-mortem when her mother was killed by a boxfish. The premie newborn may be tainted by the boxfish toxin herself. Thus the slightly-scary, strangely spooky Sarah Krugg comes into the world as the Shaman's Daughter.
Boxfish toxin and other near-death experiences serve as a real-world explanation for the mystical powers of those who possess the true gift (as opposed to the title) of a shaman. After all, as we learned in South Coast, Otto's father had the title, but did not have the true gift until he was stung by a boxfish and recovered. Otto's grandfather began as a rancher,
'...a sheep farmer from up-country who survived getting gored by a goat and came out of it a changed man.”Sarah Krugg is thus set up to be more than an ordinary girl. But the post of shaman is defined as "the son of a shaman," or someone who a conclave of other shaman can agree has the gift. And due to pressure, subtle or explicit, from corporate management, no woman, however gifted, will be confirmed as a shaman.
The company planet is unfair to women, right? Except fishing captains are more female than male, likewise plant managers, and so forth. It is only the hereditary position of shaman that is so restricted. That is the mystery to be resolved in this novel, with Sarah's tale winding through it to provide the personal flavor.
With Nathan Lowell's experitise at telling this story, there is much more here than gender inequality. There is a real stretch toward explaining what might be dismissed as "woo woo" in his other Golden Age tales, and a revealing glimpse of Sarah herself, before she signed on to the Lois McKendrick. The duology can be read stand-alone, although for best effect, I recommend reading at least the first two books of the Traders Tales From the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series, Quarter Share and Half Share.