"A Ursula Le Guin-like grace... Ten out of 10." —New York Times
In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Elder Race, a junior anthropologist on a distant planet must help the locals he has sworn to study to save a planet from an unbeatable foe.
Lynesse is the lowly Fourth Daughter of the queen, and always getting in the way.
But a demon is terrorizing the land, and now she’s an adult (albeit barely) with responsibilities (she tells herself). Although she still gets in the way, she understands that the only way to save her people is to invoke the pact between her family and the Elder sorcerer who has inhabited the local tower for as long as her people have lived here (though none in living memory has approached it).
But Elder Nyr isn’t a sorcerer, and he is forbidden to help, and his knowledge of science tells him the threat cannot possibly be a demon…
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Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Tchaikovsky (Children of Time) wows with this inventive and empathetic story of courage, science, and magic. Though Lynesse is the mere Fourth Daughter of the Royal Line of Lannesite, she knows she's capable of more than being the family hoyden. When a demon ravages the countryside, Lynesse is determined to emulate her great-grandmother Astresse, who teamed up with the mysterious, ageless sorcerer Elder Nyr to destroy a monster. In truth, however, Nyr is not a mage but an anthropologist, the last of a team from Earth sent to study the colony that became Lynesse's homeworld. He broke protocol to help Astresse defeat the demon, really a leftover piece of Earth-built equipment run amok, and wonders if that transgression is why he's been cut off from Earth for over 300 years. Abandoned and unsure, Nyr knows the choice he makes now to help or not will define the rest of his life, and decide the fate of Lynesse's world. Tchaikovsky takes beloved tropes to exciting new places, carried by memorable characters and clever prose. This proves yet again why Tchaikovsky is a master of the genre mash-up.
Definitely one of my new favorite novels! I love the way Tchaikovsky builds the backstory and the melding of fantasy and sci-fi. Can’t wait for more in this universe
Thoroughly enjoyed this novella. One of the best and most original stories I’ve read in 2021!
Really great—faced paced, thought provoking and fun! Compares very well to Children of Time and better than Children of Ruin!