The Family Tree [NOOK Book]

Overview

THE ONCE FERTILE EARTH OF DORA HENRY'S CHILDHOOD HAS BEEN UNDERVALUED AND OVERDEVELOPED. NOW NATURE, APPARENTLY, HAS DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK.

Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere she turns. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place.

...

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The Family Tree

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Overview

THE ONCE FERTILE EARTH OF DORA HENRY'S CHILDHOOD HAS BEEN UNDERVALUED AND OVERDEVELOPED. NOW NATURE, APPARENTLY, HAS DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK.

Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere she turns. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place.

And, strangest of all, Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora.

A potential civilization-ending catastrophe is in the making. The bearer Dora gets to a murderer--and to the truth--the more seemingly disparate events begin to entwine. And the answers she seeks today to the salvation of humankind may lie in afar distant future. . .one which is suddenly much closer than anyone imagines.

An exhilarating and enchanting novel that deftly combines fantastic invention with insight and a social conscience, from one of the most lyrical and important voices in contemporary speculative fiction.

THE ONCE FERTILE EARTH OF DORA HENRYS CHILDHOOD HAS BEEN UNDERVALUED AND OVERDEVELOPED. NOW NATURE, APPARENTLY, HAS DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK.

Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere she turns. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place.

And, strangest of all, Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora.

A potential civilization-ending catastrophe is in the making. The bearer Dora gets to a murderer--and to the truth--the more seemingly disparate events begin to entwine. And the answers she seeks today to the salvation of humankind may lie in afar distant future. . .one which is suddenly much closer than anyone imagines.

An exhilarating and enchanting novel that deftly combines fantastic invention with insight and a social conscience, from one of the most lyrical and important voices in contemporary speculative fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Oklahoma City Oklahoman
Tepper excels at surprises.Characters familiar for several chapters are notwhat they seem. Time does not flow as we think.The plots merge unexpectedly... Afterward thereare lasting images. A reader may never lookcomfortably at a weed again.
Contra Costa Newspapers
It's not quite what you think ...The book unfolds like a series of nesting boxes,each holding a surprise more wonderful than the last.I wanted to reread it almost immediately.
Elizabeth Willey
Tepper's linguistic sleight-of-hand withmetaphor and image is breathtaking;her storytelling is deft and funny;her characters are memorable and sympathetic.Topical, mythical, archetypical, and provocative,this is a book no fantasy or science fiction readershould miss.
Garry Kilworth
I discovered magic in the pages of this ingenious,fascinating tale.
Ursula K. Le Guin
[Tepper] takes the mental risks that are the lifeblood of science fiction and all imaginative narrative.
The Los Angeles Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When police officer Dora Henry talks to the trees, they listen. They also provide her with fruit out of season and guard her bicycle. Why they do these things, she's not sure, but she doesn't have time to worry about it: three geneticists have been murdered and clues are in short supply. She's also going through a painful divorce from her abusive husband, Jared, after two years of sterile, sexless marriageand Jared has vowed that he won't let her go and has begun stalking her. The trees, meanwhile, are springing up everywhere, ripping up streets, kidnapping unwanted babies and acting like sentient beings. Dora's story represents only half of what's going on in this tale, however. In a parallel narrative set 3000 years in the future, Opalears, a young slave in a quasi-Arabic society, accompanies her master on a quest to seek interpretation of an ancient prophecy. As they travel, they are joined by others on their own quests. Eventually, Opalears and her companions also run into sentient trees. Tepper (Gibbon's Decline and Fall) reprises a number of her standard themes in this novel that's at once earnest and whimsical: the evils of sexism, overpopulation and patriarchal religion; the danger of fouling our environmental nest; animal rights; the need to take drastic action to solve our problems. As always, she's highly didactic, a trait that has damaged her audience in conservative circles, but that also endears her to those who agree with her politics. 30,000 first printing. (May)
Library Journal
While investigating the separate murders of three geneticists, police sergeant Dora Henry stumbles upon talking animals from the future who have come 3000 years into their past to prevent the extinction of their species before a plague destroys most humans. Overnight, sentient weeds and trees begins taking over the suburbs and carrying off babies from families with more than two children. Tying together the Earth Goddess Kor and ecological scare tactics leaves this morality tale a little too preachy and strident. A disappointment from the author of the Hugo Award nominee Grass (LJ 9/15/89); recommended for larger fantasy collections only.
Kirkus Reviews
In Tepper's latest consciousness-raising venture (the splendid Gibbon's Decline and Fall, 1996, etc.), cop Dora Henry investigates three supposedly unrelated and apparently motiveless murders whose victims were all leading geneticists. Dora's husband, Jared, takes no sexual or other interest in her—viewing her as merely a live-in housekeeper. One day a strange weed springs up outside their house. Jared, who loathes disorder, tries to uproot it, but the weed resists and stings him nearly to death. In a matter of days, the weed multiplies into a forest blanketing the suburbs—and Dora finds she can talk with the trees! Encouraged, she leaves Jared and teams up with biologist Abilene McCord. Meanwhile, 3,000 years in the future, a peaceful, low-tech, multi-tribal civilization writhes in turmoil when a dreadful prophecy warns that all intelligent life faces extinction. So a diverse group of travelers—among them magician-polymath Prince Izakar, arrogant Prince Sahir, and harem slave and part-time narrator Nassif—seek the remote Hospice of St. Weel, where, according to the prophecy, some way of averting the catastrophe might be found. The intricate yet exquisitely controlled plot, impossible to summarize but involving time travel, plague, genetic experiments on animals, sorcery, a secret society, and the astonishing identity of the travelers themselves, reveals how, why, and what happens after Nassif and the princes materialize in Dora's newly forested backyard.

Beautifully realized, full of delightful surprises and sparkling wit, this out-and-out charmer is unquestionably Tepper's best work so far.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061976339
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 100
  • Sales rank: 25,776
  • File size: 519 KB

Meet the Author

Sheri S. Tepper is the author of more than thirty novels, including 1993’s A Plague of Angels, which is set in the same world as The Waters Rising. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Dora Henry and the Weed

Midmoming, a Tuesday in July, Dora Henry went out the front door of Jared's place to get the paper that the paperboy had, as usual, dropped just over the picket fence. On her way back up the immaculately swept walk she glanced at the front stoop and stopped dead in her tracks. She quit breathing. The world became hot and still as she teetered dizzily like a tightrope walker, thinking it would be nice to faint, but as she'd never done that, she didn't really know how.

Instead, she squeezed her eyes shut and made herself breathe, one long slow breath while she counted ten: Grandma's prescription for fear or anger or anything unsettling, one long breath with eyes shut, not looking at whatever it was that was bothering. Sometimes it worked. When her eyes opened, however, it was still there: a sprig of green thrusting up from the hairline crack between the brick of the stoop and the wall of the house.

It's just a weed, she told herself, looking at her hands with disbelief as they twitched and grasped toward the encroaching green. She heard her own voice yammering at her, "It can't stay there. It has no right to be there. Jared will be so angry..."

Jared would be so angry.

She clasped her hands together and tightened them until the knuckles turned white, biting her tongue until it hurt, willing herself to stop all this foolishness. "Weed," she said, invoking a label. It sounded right. Just a weed. Which, if Jared saw it, would bend him all out of shape, but that didn't mean she had to have a breakdown. Even if Jared had a major hissy, my Lord, she didn't need to go into some kind ofhysterical spasm at the sight of a weed!

She cast a quick, almost furtive look around to see first if anyone had seen her having a cow on the sidewalk and then if any other strange growths might have sprouted during the night. Negative on both counts. The block was as vacant as a hatched egg, and Jared's place was as usual: three meticulously trimmed rose bushes still marched up each side of the front walk; one geometrically sheared blue spruce still held down the comer opposite the driveway; six junipers bulged smoothly and uniformly across the front of the house, neatly carved into convex mounds; two flowering crab apple trees (fruitless) still stood at attention, each on a hanky of lawn that had been weeded and clipped and fertilized until it looked like a square of Astroturf.

She didn't need to look at the rest of it; she knew it by heart. The fences on either side and across the front were as pristine as when freshly painted. The driveway to the garage was smooth, gray concrete, as unstained as when newly laid. Out behind the garage, the trash cans were doing close order drill, each one precisely helmeted. The arbor covering the patio was grown with tightly clipped Boston ivy, and the narrow strip between garage and patio was planted with a single row of absolutely uniform hostas, which, so Jared said, were the least troublesome of shade-tolerant ground covers.

The Tree that cast the shade belonged to the people next door south, or, since it was on the far property line, maybe the people beyond them. It was huge and old with limbs like buttresses. Each fall it turned flaming red and scattered the whole block with glittering confetti, an autumnal celebration that went on for weeks while Jared fumed and snarled. He couldn't wait until the last leaves came down so he could vacuum them up, restoring his place to its usual purity. Once Jared had arranged things to his satisfaction, he did not tolerate alterations.

Dora hadn't known that, not at first. Under the assumption-quite wrong, as it turned out-that Jared's place was now "their" place, she had suggested some pansies by the back steps, a lavender plant, maybe, and some tulip bulbs under the hostas. Even some violets along the edges.

"They make a mess," Jared told her. "Tulip foliage dies and turns an ugly yellow. Pansies aren't hardy. The bloom stalks on lavender drop their buds. Violets seed themselves." His tone of voice made it clear that seeding oneself was a perversion.

Still thinking she was allowed a voice in the matter, she had argued, "Hostas have bloom stalks."

"Not for long," he'd crowed. Which was true, of course. The minute one showed, he nipped it off. All Jared wanted to see was those nice, shiny, evenly spread green leaves. Every week, he used the carwasher gadget on them, floods of soapy water to get rid of the dust. Even the roses out front were allowed their rare blooms only for a day or two. First sign of blowsiness, first sign a petal might drop, off they came. Jared had always been neat, said his mother. No trouble bringing Jared up, not a bit.

Dora sometimes entertained brief visions of the baby Jared sitting in his crib, neatly organizing his Pampers, folding his blankets, plumping his little pillow. Or the schoolboy Jared, sharpening his pencils and laying his homework out with a ruler, even with the edge of his desk...

The Family Tree. Copyright © by Sheri Tepper. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2005

    everyone, young and old, should read 'Family Tree'

    One of the best fantasy sci-fi books I have ever read. The characters grow as the story progresses, the mystery builds to an unimaginable finale and makes you think long and hard about how you interact with others.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2005

    enjoyable!

    After reading Grass I knew I had to read more of her work. When I came accross this story I was a little reluctant. I'm glad I choose this title because it is a wonderful tale. I love her style of writing and the way the plots coincide and converge. Her views are a little strong however, she is such a wonderful storyteller it is easy to overlook.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    A Facinating Tale!

    The family tree is certainly one of the most fascinating stories I have read recently. The author certainly possesses a gift in creating powerful if not thought provoking characters that'll keep you wondering all the way to its sound conclusion! Mary Martinely

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Kiley to britt

    Hey peeps.. d britt: r u the same britt i know

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    A random girl to LC

    Hi..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Britt to Kiley

    Yes...lol its me...!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    LC

    Is here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Blake

    Hey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Natalie

    Ha megan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Calling all demigods

    If you're a demigod go to viking tales. Thank you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Natani

    Hey guys .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Jett

    Hello

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Get a free ipad

    Kiss ur hand and post this at three different books and look under ur pillow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Logan

    Go to tlor swift res2 and we wull talk

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Madi

    Hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Mia

    She wandered aimlessleh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Skylar

    She slips in, narrowing her eyes at the place.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Megan

    I can see that. Lol

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Zoe

    Hello

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Emily

    Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

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