A thousand years after our 21st century civilization was obliterated by an asteroid, little remains other than myth and superstition; but a wasted world is coming back alive and the hope of recovery rests on Dismé who will uncover the truth and reclaim a lost world.
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...
Dismé the Child
Deep in the night, a squall of strangled brass, a muted trumpet bray of panic: Aunt Gayla Latimer, wailing in the grip of nightmare -- followed shortly by footsteps.
"Papa?" Dismé peered sleepily at her door, opened only a crack to admit her father's nose, chin, one set of bare toes.
"It's Aunt Gayla having the Terrors, Dismé. Just go back to sleep." He turned and shuffled up the attic stairs to be greeted by Roger, Dismé's older brother. Mumble, mumble.
"Val?" A petulant whine from Father's room.
Voice from upstairs. "Go back to sleep, Cora."
Corable the Horrible, said a voice in Dismé's head. Cora Call-Her-Mother.
"But she's not my mother," Dismé had said a thousand times.
"Of course not. But you call her mother anyhow. All little girls need a mother." Papa, over and over.
Fresh howls of horror from Aunt Gayla's room.
"Can't anybody shut that old bitch up?" A slightly shriller whine, from the room that had once ...
If you liked The Visitor, try these:
A monumental, genre-defying novel over ten years in the making, Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents.
The Sterkarm Handshake is a stirring tale of a clash of two cultures, beautifully told by master storyteller Susan Price.
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