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Essays & Reviews
  The Conqueror's Child: The Holdfast Chronicles book four





The Conqueror's Child: The Holdfast CThe Conqueror's Child: The Holdfast Chronicles book four


  Winner, 1999 James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award
". . . an inspiring and satisfying conclusion."
"A monumental work . . . Far and away the best gender bending novel I've read this past year — maybe in the past 20 or 30 years. Strong, thoughtful, and beautifully written."
 
  From the Judges' comments  
  Buy This Book
 
"The Conqueror's Child is a densely plotted and character-rich novel . . . a gripping suspense tale . . . Most impressively, she has deconstructed her own classic example of dystopian feminism in a manner that both enriches and deepens the questions it originally raised."
Locus

"This potent, thoughtful novel by a talented writer at the top of her form clearly counts as one of the best SF novels of 1999."
Publishers Weekly

"This book and its series are — currently — vastly under-considered in the pantheon of SF greats."
www.scifi.com
 
  "Charnas' saga is well handled, immediate, and involving. "
  Kirkus Reviews

  "[Charnas] has taken one of the defining political questions of our times and has turned it into a tale that is both entertaining and insightful. And she never stops digging, never stops turning the searchlight . . . "
  Emerald City

  Listed among "The Very Best of 1999's Best SF Novels."
  San Francisco Chronicle

  "A fascinating look back at the permutations of the feminist imagination in recent years. "
  Salon


An Excerpt:
That crippled stranger, my father, sat stiffly down on the ground across from me as I worked.

I said, "Why are you here?"

He said, "I asked to come. I have to tell you -- go home to the Grasslands, Sorrel. Your mother left you there for good reasons; Alldera knows what she's doing. The Holdfast is very dangerous now. There's great unrest among the men, dreams of revolt, of heroes appearing from the Wild to free them and make them the masters again." He looked around at the rocky hills. "You're too exposed here!"

I said, "To what? A few dirty Slovens, shambling about with wooden bars fastened between their feet?"

He tapped the iron cuff around his own ankle. "Once, you would have been the one to wear this, not I. The history of the Holdfast teaches one great lesson: Do not underestimate the lowly."

I caught his hand and laid my other hand next to his, although he pulled back from me involuntarily. My hand was a good deal dirtier than his, from months of building in stone while he'd been handling only his beloved old books in the Ancient library.

"Not much alike," I said, letting him go. "Maybe I'm not your daughter after all. Why should you care what happens to me anyway? The other men wouldn't appreciate your concern. Some of them already want you dead, from what I've heard."


He shrugged irritably. "Survival here has never been easy, not for anyone. But it's your safety we were discussing."

"Look," I said, "I'm busy, I'm building something that's important to me. When I'm done, I'll leave. So you can tell those women they won't get anywhere treating me like a feckless girl, sending the only one of my parents who's around to come out here and nudge me toward what they want me to do. You're like some nervous old mare trying to round up a stray foal!"

He picked up a stone and turned it in his hands, his thin fingers nervously exploring its surfaces. "Our quarrels aren't yours," he said at last, and his pale eyes flashed a desperate glance at me. "Go home! Take that troublesome child you brought, or leave him if you must, but go, Sorrel — go soon!"

   
    Read more about the Holdfast series >>  
Editions:    
Electric Story e-version in preparation
 
Tor/Orb SF Classics Trade paper August 2000 ISBN: 0312869460  
Tor Hardcover May 1999 ISBN: 0312857195