The long-awaited and much-demanded sequel to A PLAGUE OF ANGELS, continuing the story of Abasio, once a farmboy, now, so Blue, his talking horse, is happy to inform people, a man who goes hither and thither helping orphans in this world where renascent mythical beasts and fairy tale 'archetypes' now live.
... And when he comes agross little Xulai from Tingawan, one of the Ten Thousand Islands, far across the western Sea, she informs him that she too is an orphan, and implores his help carrying out the last request of the Princess Xu-i-lok, who has been dying since the day she married Duke Justinian, who refused the royal order to marry Alicia, the Prince's sister.
Xulai is Princess Xu-i-lok's Soul Carrier, and the task she must complete means visiting the scary forest in the dead of night - but it is the only thing that will bring the princess a measure of peace. Abasio, helper of orphans, promises though she must do this alone, he will be near, to aid her if necessary ... and it is, for there are dark things abroad ...
And Xulai's job is not yet done, for with the princess now dead, the grieving Duke is left a widower - and Alicia, Duchess Altamont, still wishes to marry him. It's not just the man she wants, but his lands too ... and her plans do not bode well for anyone except her ...
The Earth of this futuristic fable is still scarred by the "Big Kill," the disastrous crescendo of our civilization that all but obliterated terrestrial life. Now a new threat has appeared in the form of rising sea levels, a process that appears unbounded by such petty concerns as a plausible source for all that water. Xulai, initially an unimportant and expendable young girl, encounters a specter from the days of Big Kill, an entity bent on preventing Xulai from realizing her potential role in the salvation of humanity. "Ecofeminist" Tepper (The Margarets) balances pointed criticisms of our era with a calamity that appears to owe far more to Genesis than to science, but the writing is slick and carefully crafted, Xulai has plenty of pluck, and her companions possess a nearly ideal mixture of virtues, flaws, and enthusiasm for redemptive sacrifice. \n
Best Sheri S Tepper book yet
Incredibly readable story, which sucked me in immediately. I bought this as a e-book and only put it down to go to work or fell sleep while reading it on my phone. It shares similar eco-religious themes to other Sheri S Tepper books but is written in a much milder style. Sheri has matured as a writer so that the story is all you hear, without any preaching. Fantastic lovely wonderful story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 10/10.