Helm

Steven Gould, Author
Steven Gould, Author Tor Books $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-86460-6
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 468 pages - 978-0-8125-7135-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-29793-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-1994-8
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Faced with insufficient resources in their overcrowded shelters, the Moon-based survivors of a war that has rendered Earth uninhabitable send most of their population to establish a colony on a world in orbit around another star. Since these survivors can't spare any technology, they ""imprint"" the colonists with enough rudimentary knowledge to insure that hygiene and literacy will lead to an eventual rebirth of techno-culture. Flash forward a few hundred years, and the colony is a success, glowing with rustic charm. But there's an apple in this Eden--one of the imprinting devices, which somehow survived transit and is reverently referred to as ""the Helm."" When teenaged Leland De Laal places it on his head, he unwittingly injects the lost wisdom of the ancients--science, medicine, foreign languages--into his mind. Although Leland's father, Dulan, the Steward of Laal, is then forced to raise his youngest son as his successor, the family's fortunes are overshadowed by the threat of war. Because his father is tough on him, Leland grows into a hard warrior prince, tender enough to fall for the pretty Marilyn de Noram but not shrewd enough to recognize how his enemies scheme to take over the family fortress. The only magic in this amusing mix of SF and fantasy is the disembodied voice that ""speaks"" in Leland's head, but fantasy fans should enjoy all the pageantry and sword fights that lead to Leland smashing his enemies and reclaiming his heritage. (Mar.)
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