Freedom's Ransom, An Ace/Putnam Book, Copyright 2002 by Anne McCaffrey, ISBN: 0-399-14889-2, Sequel to: Freedom's Landing, Freedom's Choice, and Freedom's Challenge.
In the first three books of the Freedom Series, Anne McCaffrey draws the reader into the challanges faced by humans, Catteni, Deski, and Rugarians when they are captured by the Eosi. The Eosi have, for centuries (utilizing the subsumed bodies of the Catteni Emmasi) conquered many planets. Their tactic of landing, capturing a large quantity of people, dropping those captured on uninhabited planets or using them as slaves on mining planets, and moving on to the next planet have been ended. Earth, Barevi, and Botany together have stopped the Eosi domination.
In Freedom's Ransom, the fourth (and supposedly last) book in this series, the Botany colonists face one last challange. They must find a way to retrieve all of the stolen items and return them to earth. People are starving, communication is virtually non-existent, and travel has ceased. But, so much of what earth needs is in the hands of the Catteni trade merchants.
When Zainal helped to relieve the Catteni of the Eosi domination, he was promised that all items taken from earth would be returned. But Barevi still faces many challanges as it tries to recover from centuries of Eosi domination. It's now up to Zainal and Kris to discover the best form of barter to ransom back what belongs to earth.
Through a startling discovery, the Botany colonists find that the Catteni have a desire for gold teeth and coffee! Strange commodities, and possibly difficult for the colonists to provide. But in true Botany fashion, they rise to the challange.
Earth is unable to travel to Barevi, so it becomes necessary for the Botany colonists to return to earth. There they discover the utter destruction of life as they remember it. Everything that is comfortably remembered is GONE. But in true human fashion, earth is functioning. A rudimentary form of government has sprung up, and with it's help the Botany colonists are able to acquire the few items that the Catteni will find valuable.
Upon arriving on Barevi, Zainal discovers the Emassi responsible for sending him to Botany. He also discovers that it's possible for Botany to set up trade between earth and Barevi. While very tenuous, there is a feeling that the future for all three planets will include a mutual trade arrangement.
The culmination of this series is almost anti-climatic. It does, however, still leave one with the feeling that earth will always prevail, that humans are always going to rise above. Ms. McCaffrey has once again given us entertainment and food for thought.