The author of The Glass Harmonica offers a literate, musically informed story of personal courage and fortitude in the face of evil that will appeal to all who root for the underdog. In the late 21st century, the world of Parisian flutist Ebriel Serique turns upside-down when terrorists kill her husband and daughter after their yacht supposedly crosses the Line of Partition, which separates the industrialized haves from the third-world have-nots. Convinced that her loved ones would never have strayed across the Line, Ebriel stages a dramatic protest when she's unable to gain satisfaction from the despotic government. The ruler, George Glass, has Ebriel restrained in a mental institution, where she's rescued by members of the Chain, a rebel group that saw her protest. Although the Chain wants her to teach music to the third world children they save, Ebriel can't bring herself to do it—the music inside her died when her family did. Instead, the Chain teaches Ebriel to fight as a maquisarde, and Ebriel swears revenge against Glass. Ebriel slowly finds herself, and her music, as she learns more about her own nature and the realities behind Glass's propaganda. Point-of-view shifts between Ebriel and two other characters diffuse the novel's dramatic impact, and the plot wanders, but Marley's writing is lyrical and persuasive. (Dec. 3)
Forecast:The isolated image of a gray-haired, youthful-faced woman on the jacket signals single female protagonist and ought to whet the curiosity of casual browsers looking for SF with higher than usual emotional content. The Glass Harmonica was a co-winner of the 2001 Endeavor Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science Fiction or Fantasy.