Hammerfall (Book Synopsis)
by C.J. Cherryh
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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
"The mad shall be searched out and given to the Ila's
No man shall conceal madness in his wife,
or his son, or his daughter, or
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 dangers of 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
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 the Ilas 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.
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