|Hearts, Hands and Voices (1992) [Novel]|
by Ian McDonald
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The Land is the last remaining province of a decaying Empire,
separated from it by a vast river. For millennia the Land has been
blessed by biotechnology - everything, from housing to transportation,
is organically grown, while the dead, absorbed in Ancestor Trees, form
a vast information net, the Dreaming.
Such a place should be a paradise, but the Land is troubled,
divided by religious conflict between Proclaimer and Confessor, and by
political conflict between the forces of the Emperor and those, like
the warriors of Destiny, who would see the land free of the
technocratic Imperial yoke.
When conflict comes to the small town of Chepsenyt, Mathembe Fileli
and her family are made refugees. In her teens, Mathembe has never
spoken, by choice. Now she finds herself embarking on a journey into
the unknown with her parents, her rebellious brother and the head of
her irascible Grandfather, as vociferous in death as he had been in
life. One by one, the family is split up and Mathembe is finally
alone. She sets out to find them, a small mute girl in a world of
glory, squalor and terror. Her journey through countryside and teeming
city, through refugee camps and down the great River forms a
compulsive story, atmosperic, lyrical and moving.
Original title: Hearts, Hands and Voices
Genre: Fiction→ Science Fiction