Gradisil is a multi-generational story of murder, betrayal and revenge. It is told through the eyes of three characters and against a background where mankinds rush into space has faded away leaving individual pioneers to force their way independently into space after the collapse of the big government space agencies.
They ride up into space on the lines of electromagnetic force that flower into space from earth like the mighty Yggradisil - the earth tree of Norse myth. Leaving their weight behind they still carry a cargo of enmities and hatreds.
Roberts has a unique approach to SF and is one of the genre's premier stylists. This is one of his most original novels yet.
Written like a love-hate letter to American SF, Roberts's latest is a multigenerational saga of space colonization and betrayal. Centered on the life of Gradisil Gyeroffy, it covers the early years of plucky (and/or wealthy) Uplanders, individuals who take up residence in low Earth orbit, through their transforming war with America and Gradi's sacrifices to weld them into a nation. The forward-looking, freedom-oriented space colonists stand in contrast to their tradition-bound, systems-wedded opponents. Roberts (The Snow) suggests that popular access to space is just a technological improvement away, though the government as represented by the USUF (aka the U.S. Upland Force), rather than rugged individuals, would (and should) lead the way. Not surprisingly, this novel of ideas is talky, and it ends on an ambiguous note. Rewarding the patient reader are some witty asides of social changes (like going from one to three to 14 popes) and an unsparing portrait of a social revolution and its costs to the revolutionaries.