Eos, Jul 2001, 25.00, 400 pp.
Since he was eight, Marak did his best to conceal the visions he saw and ignore the voices he heard because he knew either condition is considered a sign of madness. Those who are deemed mad are turned over to the Ila. Until he turned thirty, Marak successfully hid his delicate situation. He joined the war against the Ila, trying to break into the great city where she lived in splendid security. Marak confesses his illness and his father disowns him, giving him over to the soldiers for disposal to Ila.
After traveling across the large desert, Marak meets the five-century-old Ila. Everyone who is dubbed mad hear voices telling them to go east. Ila wants Marak to do just that but report to her what he finds. After a long arduous trek, Marak reaches a tower where he meets Ian and Luz, Ila's peers, claiming that the world is coming to an end. If he is to survive he must return to this tower with Ila and as many people as will go with them.
C.J. Cherryh is one of the most gifted science fiction writers of our time and with her latest novel, HAMMERFALL, she has created a new universe for the first time in thirty years. The story line reads like a modern day Noah's Ark as the audience keeps on reading to learn what happens as a world gets destroyed. Those sequences of scenes are brilliantly crafted. The protagonist is a hero as his actions and choices speak well of him as a person. Ms. Cherryh has another winner in this novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner