Land of the Golden Clouds

Archie Weller, Author Allen & Unwin Academic $14.95 (392p) ISBN 978-1-86448-338-3
Three thousand years after a devastating global thermonuclear war, the desolate wastes of Australia support a myriad of primitive tribal nations, bound by superstition and xenophobia. Legend says the world was destroyed by the fiery love of Sister Sun, who betrayed her husband, Father Moon, to have an illicit affair with her own sister. Young Ilgar of the nomadic Ilkari is a Moon-talker, a sort of shaman whose nocturnal visions carry prophetic messages from Father Moon. Returning home after a particularly troubling vision, Ilgar and his friends are attacked by Nightstalkers, the cold, pale People of the Caves who only come out to hunt at night. Ilgar survives with the help of S'shony, a young Nightstalker female who's grown disillusioned with her race and longs for a richer life. Quickly the two fall in love, and Ilgar takes S'shony with him, disguising her as one of the mythical Children of Father Moon. After learning of the attack, Ilgar's tribe sends him off with S'shony and a few others to gather an army from all the tribes to destroy the Nightstalkers once and for all. This episodic novel proceeds at a languid pace as Ilgar and his party meet and are subsequently joined by members of various nations, including wayward ""Ras Tafarians"" and English ""Cricketeers."" Readers who revel in folklore and intricate cultural details will enjoy the numerous circumlocutions as each event spawns a retelling of a tale; few others will have the patience to stay with the ponderous plot. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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