Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman

Walter M. Miller, Author Spectra Books $23.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-553-10704-3
Until his death last year at age 75, Miller was known as a one-book author--but the book was the classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, winner of the 1960 Hugo for Best Novel. Here is Miller's sequel to Canticle, completed after his death by Terry Bisson and likely the most anticipated SF book of the fall season. Now the errant monk Blacktooth is impressed into the service of Cardinal Brownpony, who is seeking to unite rebel factions against the tyranny of the Hannegan empire. Over a millennium has passed since the fiery end of the ""Magna Civitas"" of the 20th century. Gennies, genetically damaged people, live in isolated conclaves, and little-understood remains of the nuclear holocaust still cause illness and are revered as holy places. Scholars study ancient documents and sometimes succeed in re-creating a weapon, a telegraph line, an electrical generator. Pagan religions flourish in uneasy coexistence with the Catholic church, while the church wrestles with temporal authorities for political power. The narrative is dense with military and political machinery, dry history absent the interest of real-world associations. Too much of the action is uninformed by any character's feelings; instead, we have a deluge of names and information in which theme and passion are often lost. Blacktooth's inner struggle, the tension between church and state, the attempted dialectic between mystical and ecclesiastical religiosity and even the inherent commentary on our own possible fate are all eclipsed by the mass of useless invented information. There are indeed interesting, complex characters present, and Blacktooth's sporadic love affair with a brash, beautiful gennie is intriguing. Only they are maddeningly diluted by pages and pages of undigested and indigestible facts. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Glued - 448 pages - 978-0-613-22295-2
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-553-38079-8
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