When an asteroid crashed into the Earth hundreds of years ago in the twenty-first century, much of what was considered civilization was obliterated. All that remains of that time are paltry fragmented memories of science and life colored by myth and superstition. The "magic" that once was America died horribly, along with most of the planet's inhabitants. But a wasted world is coming back alive -- despite the tyranny and cruel punishments that the repressive ruling order inflicts daily on a greatly reduced populace.
Dismé Latimer's entire family was lost forever, though not as a result of global cataclysm. Rather, much more recent and mysterious circumstances made Dismé an orphan, leaving the gentle, troubled young woman at the mercy of a cruel stepmother, an abusive stepsister...and a book.
A sacred, unsettling tome written by an ancestor -- the courageous scientist Nell Latimer, who left a husband and family behind in her attempt to salvage something of the post-castastrophe world -- Dismé's book contains disturbing ideas and revelations that are compelling a shy youth to take bold and dangerous action. But common "wisdom" and lore warn of malevolent entities out in the world, and advise would-be adventurers to stay where they are. Yet other myths suggest that the selfless band of planet-repairing scientists -- including Dismé's brave forebear -- have somehow, miraculously, survived to this day. And Dismé Latimer will uncover the truth and reclaim a lost world, whatever and wherever it might be.
Destiny, it seems, has chosen a most improbable defender to lead an imperiled planet out of the darkness. Perhaps somewhere beyond everything Dismé has ever known is her true identity -- and, hopefully, others similarly inclined who will fight alongside her for the common good. But there is evil also, a malevolence beyond imagining.
And far away, in the depths of the Earth, a gargantuan beast has roused itself after centuries of slumber. And it has begun to stir...
Another consummately skillful, wise, sometimes hilarious, iconoclastic performance.
Booklist - Regina Schroeder
Tepper blends magic and science well this time, fits the moral into the story rather than forcing the story to fit the moral, and finishes with a startling and hopeful ending.
Once again Tepper has created a mesmerizing story full of intriguing characters, resonant images and powerful themes.
School Library Journal - Christine C. Menefee
Tepper puts readers through a harrowing catalog of human evils, but this is the point-to name these evils, examine them, and discover how to overcome them. Disme, Nell, and their friends are resourceful and appealing heroes and their world is peopled with a very believable mix of ethically complicated beings.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Sheri S. Tepper takes the mental risks that are the lifeblood of science fiction and all imaginative fiction.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
Another excellent book by a challenging author!
This book is a real mix of genres, depending on who is narrating. A ghost story, a fantasy, science fiction and a morality tale! What happens if a meteor really does strike the earth?... Read More
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