This voodoopunkfunny! novel focuses on Sparrow, an androgynous trader of old and extremely rare videos and CDs in a post-Armageddon Minnesota. Sparrow gets caught up in an internecine fight between two Horsemen, the last survivors of the group of powerful telepaths who caused the apocalypse. The book moves slowly at first, but Bull keeps the focus on the people and their relationships, and eventually the offbeat characters draw the reader in. It is especially rewarding to watch Sparrow's dawning realization that it isn't necessary to do things alone and that there are friends to help. Bull has a sharp ear for relaxed dialogue and conversational humor, and one gets a true feel for this world, where large cities meant to hold millions are populated by mere hundreds and Jane Austen is a name even the literate no longer recognize.p. 132 Sparrow's androgyny is also skillfully handled. Like mystery writer Sarah Caudwell's protagonist Hilary Tamar, Sparrow is sometimes masculine, sometimes feminine, sometimes neither, always believable. While not as strong as Bull's contemporary fantasy classic War for the Oaks , this is a winning book. (May)
Post-holocaust America is a fragmented non-nation ruled by a powerful few and populated by an array of drifters, dream ers, and traders in lost technologies. Amid this shattered background, an an drogynous youth known as Sparrow comes face to face with a legend from Ar mageddon--sorcerer-soldiers known as Horsemen for their ability to possess and ``ride'' their victims' bodies--and wages a private war for his/her soul. Bull's ( War for the Oaks, Ace, 1988 ; Falcon , Ace, 1989) high-voltage prose propels this journey of self-discovery into a class by itself. Recommended where cyberpunk and/or new wave sf is popular.
School Library Journal
YA-- In the pitiless post-apocalyptic future, Sparrow's confusion and self-doubt are more than mere teenage angst. How much more may determine the future. Mixing symbolism from the Tarot deck, voodoo mythology, and a finely detailed vision of life and technology after the nuclear war, Bull has come up with yet another winner. Sparrow's video-age consciousness has obvious appeal for the MTV generation. A tense, ferocious dance on the deteriorating high wire of the future.