The prolific Silverberg (Starborne, etc.) offers a familiar odyssey spanning half a planet, two years and the gap between a child who knows everything about how his world works and a man who knows how to question it all. Destined to rule over an estate of Folk"a race he knew to be gentle, hardworking and not overly bright"15-year-old Joseph, one of the noble race of Masters, has left his home in the south to visit cousins in the north continent, High Manza, of a future Earth known as the Mother World. When the Folk of the north unexpectedly rebel, they kill all Masters and loyal servants they can find. Thrust out into the wilderness and forced to survive by his wits, Joseph tries to get home. Along the way he's loved, despised, held captive, educated and traded as a commodity. While neither the protagonist of this bildungsroman nor his transformation is remarkable, the land that our young hero journeys through and the exotic creatures that inhabit it testify to the author's rich imagination. The solid presence of the noctambulo, a being with different personalities by day and by night who leads Joseph for a time, establishes the otherness of the Mother World. As Joseph passes through many villages of the alien Indigenes, with their puzzling philosophy of indifference, their behavior toward him evolves, subtly demonstrating the distance Joseph has traveled toward maturity. Fans won't find much that's new or challenging, but they should enjoy the ride. (July 9) FYI: Silverberg's previous novel was the concluding volume of his Majipoor cycle, The King of Dreams: Book Three of the Prestimion Trilogy (Forecasts, Apr. 30, 2001). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Fifteen-year-old Joseph Master Keilloran is accustomed to life at the top of the food chain. Born a Master, the race that came to Homeworld and subjugated the Folk who had taken the planet from the Indigenes, Joseph's duties and place in life seem clear to him. When the servile Folk revolt while he is visiting relatives on a distant continent, Joseph begins a journey toward his ten-thousand-mile-distant home. He comes first into contact with a semi-sentient Noctambulo, who helps him survive injury and wilderness. Joseph next serves as village doctor for a procession of Indigenes, learning why these seldom-encountered people never seemed to care that their planet was invaded by offworlders. Finally, he spends time with the Folk, the people most like the Masters but understood perhaps the least of all. Silverberg's story is solid and well told, as expected from a master writer. Unexpected is the tale's lack of punch. It reads like a travelogue, as Joseph learns of the flora and fauna of his world and the societies of its peoples. Naturally, he also learns about himself, whether by questioning his place in the world or through his first sexual experience, which is graphically but realistically portrayed. Joseph might be morally upright and tenacious as befits a hero, but his greatest triumphs are learning and simply surviving. For all that, the tale is strangely lacking in urgency. Although packed with social issues, this novel is otherwise a by-the-numbers, coming-of-age story without a clear payoff. Readers looking for a stronger resolution might hope for a sequel. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Adult and YoungAdult). 2002, Eos/HarperCollins, 294p,
Caught in a rebel uprising while visiting his relatives in House Getfen, 15-year-old Joseph, heir to House Keilloran, flees a massacre and undertakes a journey across his world to reach his home. In danger from pursuing rebels, Joseph also finds himself exposed to the unfamiliar world of the Indigenes, a race of nonviolent sentient beings who coexist with the dominant human race. The latest novel by sf veteran and master raconteur Silverberg (The Majipoor Chronicles) relates the coming-of-age of a young man raised in luxury who learns resilience and compassion in the face of adversity. A good choice for most sf and YA collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Adult/High School-A coming-of-age story set on a distant planet. Joseph has been trained all his life to be the next Master of his House (a sort of feudal state). The indigenous species and the humans seem to have worked out a stable, amicable system for sharing the planet, but while Joseph is visiting relatives on a faraway continent, "the Folk," a human worker caste, suddenly rebel, killing all the Masters. Joseph flees to the forest, determined to find his way home. He is aided (and sometimes hindered) by the planet's sentient species, including free Folk who are concerned with neither Masters nor revolution. Most of what Joseph thought he knew is called into question, and he gains a new understanding of his world. From his training, he has the confidence and nobility to deal with a variety of situations. From his friends along the way, he receives metaphysical instruction, sexual initiation, and an introduction to political philosophy. In one memorable episode, a starving Joseph-once a spoiled princeling who thoughtlessly hunted-must club a friendly animal; here, Silverberg masterfully conveys the reality of death, and all of the emotional pain and ethical conflict that such a choice presents to a person of conscience. At the end of Joseph's journey, readers will be left wondering how he will deal with the dilemma of being in charge of a social system that he now understands cannot last. This engaging, entertaining book is a fast read with many thoughtful themes.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A coming-of-age yarn, the first independent novel from veteran writer-editor Silverberg since The Alien Years (1998). Centuries ago, the tall, thin, technologically advanced Masters invaded and subdued the squat, muscular Folk of Homeworld, parceling out the planet into huge estates and pressing the Folk into service while the intelligent native Indigenes remained aloof and indifferent. Now, Masters learn three languages-Master, Folk, and Indigene-as a matter of course. Fifteen-year-old Master Joseph, heir to House Keilloran on the southern continent Helikis, pays an extended visit to House Getfen on the northern continent High Manza. One night, suddenly and astonishingly, the Folk rise in rebellion and set about slaughtering all the Masters. Joseph escapes with the assistance of a kindly, loyal servant woman. He flees into the wilderness hoping for aid at a neighboring House, but injures himself. A native noctambulo brings him to an Indigene village. The Indigenes possess no medical skills whatsoever, and thus Joseph's meager aptitude for dressing wounds and straightening fractures is greeted with awed acclaim. Eventually, he learns that the neighboring estate was also destroyed in the rebellion, which seems to have engulfed most of the continent. Joseph resolves to walk home-a mere 10,000 miles. Among his further adventures: servant Folk and Folk who serve no Masters; near-starvation; first love; capture and interrogation as a spy. Worse yet: will he have a House and family to return to? Silverberg handles his protagonist's absorbing material and spiritual odyssey from naive youth to weary journeyman with quiet, precise wisdom.