The Wilding is the much-anticipated sequel to C. S. Friedman's blockbuster 1986 debut novel, In Conquest Born, an epic saga of two culturally divergent interstellar civilizations and their two legendary leaders, who are locked in mortal conflict. Taking place centuries after the concluding events of In Conquest Born, The Wilding begins with the two empires in flux. The Holding, which is made up of numerous male-dominated tribes, has been ruled by the genetically obsessed Braxana (a.k.a. the Pale Ones) for generations; but as they desperately strive to invigorate their stagnant gene pool, other tribes secretly plot revolution.
The inhabitants of the Azean Empire, meanwhile, are still genetically manipulating their offspring, ceaselessly trying to improve the human genome. In the nightmarish aftermath of the Institute for the Advancement of Psychic Evolution centuries earlier, a Big Brother type of society has been formed based on misinformation and mistrust. When outcasts from both societies fatefully meet in the Outlands of space -- an exiled Braxin warrior on an impossible quest and an Azean woman in search of a long-lost sister -- the futures of both warring civilizations are irrevocably changed forever.
Fans of Friedman's works who have waited almost two decades for this novel can rest assured that their patience will be rewarded tenfold. The Wilding is archetypal Celia S: richly detailed characters; complex, emotionally absorbing themes; and singularly original settings. In a genre where the inundation of mediocre story lines is like so much white noise, Friedman is a unique voice singing out loudly and clearly above the din. Paul Goat Allen