Overview

Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel: In a dark future, a priest who has lost his faith battles for hope, love, and redemption in the teeming streets and souls of a vividly reimagined North Africa

Father John Alston has lost his faith but his heart remains strong. Having left behind a computerized, climate-controlled, and disease-free Europe, he administers aid to the destitute of a Borderer town in the Endless City. In the squalor ...

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The Great Wheel

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Overview

Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel: In a dark future, a priest who has lost his faith battles for hope, love, and redemption in the teeming streets and souls of a vividly reimagined North Africa

Father John Alston has lost his faith but his heart remains strong. Having left behind a computerized, climate-controlled, and disease-free Europe, he administers aid to the destitute of a Borderer town in the Endless City. In the squalor of what was once North Africa, he provides spiritual comfort and basic health care, while preaching a message that he no longer believes. But the recent explosion of a deadly virus has John profoundly troubled and desperately searching for answers.
 
Suspecting a native plant commonly used as an intoxicant, John decides to investigate further with the help of a brilliant but mysterious Borderer woman. His pursuit of the mystery will set him on a collision course with powerful political realities designed to maintain the status quo of the Third World. On a harrowing journey through a radioactive valley of death—and through his own painful history—he will confront devastating truths that will either revive his damaged soul or destroy it completely.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
By about 2170, the Endless City occupies the entire coast of North Africa; its Borderers live in poverty and squalor under a perpetual cloud generated by global warming and climate control. Though Father John Alston ("Fatoo"), of the Pandera presbytery, has lost much of his faith, he continues to offer the Borderers spiritual comfort and such medical aid as much as he is able (his own implants keep him safe from Borderer ailments, but the reverse isn't true). The Borderers chew a leaf, koiyl, similar to coca, that John suspects may cause cancer. Helped by Laurie Kalmar, a European-educated Borderer computer-net expert, he finds that the leaf from one particular source is dangerously radioactive. After he and Laurie become lovers, John visits home—where his once- genius brother, Hal, having monkeyed with his implants, has lain in a deathly coma for 20 years—and decides to leave the priesthood. Upon his return to the Endless City, his relationship with Laurie collapses; he tracks down the distribution of the deadly koiyl, which he begins to use himself, falls ill, returns home, recovers, allows Hal to die and, recognizing that his life is a spiritual journey, recovers his faith.

Despite the highly unlikely extrapolation from now to then, especially the improbably secular North Africans: a thoughtful, sometimes wrenching, noteworthy debut.

From the Publisher
"The Great Wheel is a marvelous book, a voyage to the heart of the midnight garden of the human soul, and a dangerous extrapolation of the days to come. Ian R. MacLeod is one hell of a writer-literary, inventive, always surprising. Pay attention: this guy is important. He's a major source and shaper of what science fiction will be in the coming millennium."-Michael Swanwick, author of Jack Faust
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480423701
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 458
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author



Ian R. MacLeod is the acclaimed writer of challenging and innovative speculative and fantastic fiction. His most recent novel, Wake Up and Dream, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, while his previous works have won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and the World Fantasy Award, and have been translated into many languages. His short story “Snodgrass” was developed for television in the United Kingdom as part of the Sky Arts series Playhouse Presents. MacLeod grew up in the West Midlands region of England, studied law, and spent time working and dreaming in the civil service before moving on to teaching and house-husbandry. He lives with his wife in the riverside town of Bewdley.   
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