Hammerfall (Gene Wars Series)

Hammerfall (Gene Wars Series)

4.5 13
by C. J. Cherryh
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

One of the most renowned figures in science fiction, C.J. Cherryh has been enthralling audiences for nearly thirty years with rich and complex novels. Now at the peak of her career, this three-time Hugo Award winner launches her most ambitious work in decades, Hammerfall, part of a far-ranging series, The Gene Wars, set in an entirely new universe

See more details below

  • Checkmark The Female Future  Shop Now

Overview

One of the most renowned figures in science fiction, C.J. Cherryh has been enthralling audiences for nearly thirty years with rich and complex novels. Now at the peak of her career, this three-time Hugo Award winner launches her most ambitious work in decades, Hammerfall, part of a far-ranging series, The Gene Wars, set in an entirely new universe scarred by the most vicious of future weaponry, nanotechnology. In this brilliant novel — possibly Cherryh's masterwork — the fate of billions has come down to a confrontation between two profoundly alien cultures on a single desert planet.

"The mad shall be searched out and given to the Ila's messengers. No man shall conceal madness in his wife, or his son, or his daughter, or his father. Every one must be delivered up." — The Book of the Ila's Au'it

Marak has suffered the madness his entire life. He is a prince and warrior, strong and shrewd and expert in the ways of the desert covering his planet. In the service of his father, he has dedicated his life to overthrowing the Ila, the mysterious eternal dictator of his world. For years he has successfully hidden the visions that plague him — voices pulling him eastward, calling Marak, Marak, Marak, amid mind-twisting visions of a silver tower. But when his secret is discovered, Marak is betrayed by his own father and forced to march in an endless caravan with the rest of his world's madmen to the Ila's city of Oburan.

Instead of death, Marak finds in Oburan his destiny, and the promise of life — if he can survive what is surely a suicidal mission. The Ila wants him to discover the source of the voices and visions that afflict the mad. Despite the danger sof the hostile desert, tensions within the caravan, and his own excruciating doubts, Marak miraculously reaches his goal — only to be given another, even more impossible mission by the strange people in the towers.

According to these beings who look like him yet act differently than anyone he has ever known, Marak has a slim chance to save his world's people from the wrath of Ila's enemies. But to do so, he must convince them all — warring tribes, villagers, priests, young and old, as well as the Ila herself — to follow him on an epic trek across the burning desert before the hammer of the Ila's foes falls from the heavens above.

Written with deceptive simplicity and lyricism, this riveting, fast-paced epic of war, love, and survival in a brave new world marks a major achievement from the masterful C.J. Cherryh.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

San Diego Union Tribune
A brand-new universe with brand-new rules.
Library Journal
Brought before the powerful ruler known as the Ila, the madman known as Marak receives a command to seek out the silver tower of his mad dreams and return with the knowledge of what the tower holds. Marak discovers, however, that reaching his destination is only the beginning of a greater and more dangerous journey. Cherryh's latest novel introduces a new universe of fallen technologies and warring interstellar empires, divine madness and world-shattering weaponry. The author of Fortress in the Eye of Time begins a new series with a powerful story that features a hero marked by his visions to save or destroy his world. A good choice for most sf collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Advent of a new far-future series, from the author of Fortress of Dragons (2000), Precursor (1999), etc. A rebel against the omnipotent Ila, Marak Trin Tain guards lifelong his secret madness—voices speak his name and urge him to travel east; he beholds visions of a silver tower and a cave of suns—until his warlord father surrenders him to the Ila's soldiers. They conduct Marak and other sufferers across the vast desert to the city Oburan. Here, with a red-robed au'it to record everything, the Ila instructs Marak to seek the source of the madness in the East. Organizing a caravan, Marak and his fellow-mad cross the desert, enjoying various adventures. Finally, the survivors reach their destination: the silver tower is real. Here, Luz explains that the Ila is immortal; she has nanomachines in her body, and used them to create the world as Marak knows it. Luz, equipped with different nanos, infected the mad with her own brand. Now, the enemies of the Ila's ancestors, the ondat, are determined to destroy both the Ila and her world. Luz offers Marak a way to save himself and many others from the bombardment that will shortly destroy everything but a protected enclave around the silver tower: he must return to Oburan to persuade the Ila and all her people to march into the desert. Plenty of gritty desert trekking, but no recognizable plot: a threadbare scenario that's little more than elaborate stage-setting for the series to come. Very disappointing.
San Diego Union-Tribune
"A brand-new universe with brand-new rules."

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061744839
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Series:
Gene Wars Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
113,894
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Imagine first a web of stars. Imagine it spread wide and wider. Ships shuttle across it. Information flows.

A star lies at the heart of this web, its center, heart, and mind.

This is the Commonwealth.

Imagine then a single strand of stars in a vast darkness, a beckoning pathway away from the web, a path down which ships can travel.

Beyond lies a treasure, a small lake of G5 suns, a near circle of perfect stars all in reach of one another.

This way, that strand says. After so hard a voyage, reward. Wealth. Resources.

But a whisper comes back down that thread of stars, a ghost of a whisper, an illusion of a whisper.

The web of stars has heard the like before. Others are out there, very far, very faint, irrelevant to our affairs.

Should we have listened?

-- The Book of the Landing.

Distance deceived the eye in the Lakht, that wide, red land of the First Descended, where legend said the ships had come down.

At high noon, with the sun reflecting off the plateau, the chimera of a city floated in the haze, appearing as a line of light just below the red, saw-toothed ridge of the Qarain, that upthrust that divided the Lakht from the Anlakht, the true land of death.

The city was both mirage and truth; it appeared always a day before its true self. Marak knew it, walking, walking endlessly beside the beshti, the beasts on which their guards rode.

Thelong-legged beasts were not deceived. They moved no faster. The guards likewise made no haste.

"The holy city," some of the damned shouted, some in relief, some in fear, knowing it was both the end of their torment and the end of their lives. "Oburan and the Ila's court!"

"Walk faster, walk faster," the guards taunted them lazily, sitting supreme over the column. The lank, curve-necked beasts that carried them plodded at an unchangeable rate. They were patient creatures, splay-footed, towering above most predators of the Lakht, enduring the long trek between wells with scant food and no water. A long, long line of them stretched behind, bringing the tents, the other appurtenances of their journey.

"Oburan!" the fools still cried. "The tower, the tower!"

"Run to it! Run!" the junior guards encouraged their prisoners. "You'll be there before the night, drinking and eating before us."

It was a lie, and some knew better, and warned the rest. The wife of a down-country farmer, walking among them, set up a wail when the word went out that the vision was only the shadow of a city, and that an end was a day and more away.

"It can't be!" she cried. "It's there! I see it! Don't the rest of you see it?"

But the rest had given up both hope and fear of an end to this journey, and walked in the rising sun at the same pace as they had walked all this journey.

Marak was different than the rest. He bore across his heart the tattoo of the abjori, the fighters from rocks and hills. His garments, the long shirt, the trousers, the aifad wrapped about his head against the hellish glare, were all the dye and the weave of Kais Tain, of his own mother's hand. Those patterns alone would have damned him in the days of the war. The tattoos on the backs of his fingers, six, were the number of the Ila's guards he had personally sent down to the shadows. The Ila's men knew it, and watched with special care for any look of rebellion. He had a reputation in the lowlands and on the Lakht itself, a fighter as elusive as the mirage and as fast-moving as the sunrise wind.

He had ridden with his father to this very plain, and for three years had seen the walls of the holy city as a prize for the taking. He and his father had laid their grandiose plans to end the Ila's reign: they had fought. They had had their victories.

Now he stumbled in the ruin of boots made for riding.

His life was thirty summers on this earth and not likely to be longer. His own father had delivered him up to the Ila's men.

"I see the city!" the woman cried to the rest. She was a wife, an honorable woman, among the last to join the march. "Can't you see it? See it rise up and up? We're at the end of this!"

Her name was Norit, and she was soft-skinned and veiled herself against the sun, but she was as mad as the rest of them that walked in this shuffling chain. Like most of them, she had concealed her madness, hidden it successfully all her years, until the visions came thick and fast. Perhaps she had turned to priests, and priests had frightened her into admission. Perhaps guilt had slowly poisoned her spirit. Or perhaps the visions had become too strong and made concealment impossible. She had confessed in tears when the Ila's men came asking for the mad, and her husband had tried to kill her; but the Ila's men said no. She was from the village of Tarsa, at the edge of the Lakht in the west.

Now increasingly the visions overwhelmed her, and she rocked and mourned her former life and poured out her story in her interludes of sanity. Over and over she told the story of her husband, who was the richest man in Tarsa, who had married her when she was thirteen. She wasted her strength crying, when the desert ate up all strength for grief and all water for tears. Her husband might have been relieved to cast her out.

The old man next in line, crookbacked from old injury, had left an aged wife in Modi...

Hammerfall . Copyright © by C. J. Cherryh. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >