We enter Tepper's fantasy world by way of a central river whose atmosphere suggests a combination of Mark Twain and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Boatman Thrasne first sees a woman turned to wood and then watches the statue give birth to a ""slow baby'' whom he cares for. This charming vision of miraculous transformations amid a practical, workaday world yields, however, to the story of a repressive religious group, the Awakeners, who serve the rapacious bird-like natives of the planet by feeding them human corpses. Each social group Tepper creates is rigidly categorized by their response to these zealots and, while some of these maneuvers are clever (e.g., a nomadic people hiding part of its populace underground), readers will probably wish for more of the river and less of the intricate but programmatic religion and politics. The first of a diptych. (March 25)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987 Release date: 01/01/1987 Genre:
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