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Essays & Reviews
  The Furies

The Furies: The Holdfast Chronicles book three

  For ten years I put off writing this book about gender warfare. Once I embarked, though, the story's torrent of passionate action whirled me along from one surprise to the next in a state of amazed exhilaration. This fictional tide is rough and bloody, but well worth the plunge.  
  Buy This Book
". . . A wonderful book: tightly written, provocative, exciting, and moving . . . The progress of the homecoming of the Free Fems is as stately and inevitable as a Greek tragedy, with many of the same elements: hubris, revenge, honor . . .[Charnas] lets her characters incarnate her ideas, so that the reader is left with a world full of rich and complex people as well as a book full of rich and complex ideas. "
The Women's Review of Books

"Charnas's clear thinking and exposition avoid most of the pitfalls that a nakedly political and allegorical book risks; her fems are complex, varied, and flawed human beings, and her depiction of the gender wars is perceptive and intelligent. A moving, thoughtful novel set in a gritty and believable dystopian future."
Kirkus Reviews
  "Powerful and poignant . . . an action-packed, if upsetting, dystopia . . . One of the five best science fiction books of 1994. "
  Publisher's Weekly

  "The Furies works admirably as a tale of adventure and intrigue . . . its characters capture our attention by their rich complexity . . . its language manages vigor, clarity, and grace all at once . . . the brilliance of The Furies lies in the way it answers the questions . . . Will the Past release us? and Can we Change?"
  SF Eye

  "Rich and powerful . . .Charnas has a clear-eyed, complex view of how the search for power, security, and freedom fuels a constant evolution in human relations."
  The NY Review of Science Fiction

An Excerpt:
Sheel rode down into the ruins of 'Troi with two others whom she trusted in a fight; three Riding Women of the Grasslands, strangers in the Holdfast. From afar 'Troi looked like a blighted pasture from which the soil had all been blown by some monstrous wind, so that only blackened shards of masonry grew there now. Up close, it was a terrible place. Sheel was afraid the broken walls might collapse on her. The footing was a rough, hummocky quilt of ash, bone, and rubble that made her worry about laming her horse. She was deeply relieved to leave the place behind.

They rode on uneasily, listening to the creak of saddle leather and the thud of the horses' hooves on alien ground. Before them lay a long, smooth slope of grass, islanded with young trees and dappled with the shadows of passing clouds. Sheel, a rider of the plains, had never been nervous of being in the open before, but this was different. She thought, "This place is empty in a way no place is empty at home. This is a hungry emptiness. It has swallowed Alldera and her little army of Free Fems, and now it swallows us."

Perhaps she and her companions would ride and ride but never find anyone living at all. One day they would simply ride into the sea — which she imagined as a rushing river with only one bank — and none of them would ever be heard of again. Haunted by these thoughts, she reproached herself: she should have come here alone and stopped the Free Fems' mad adventure herself, somehow, without endangering anyone else.

Down-river on the north side, they followed a broad trail paved with worn, flat stones. This would be a "road", she supposed, a silly thing; as if the Holdfast people had been so afraid of getting lost in their little patch of country that they had to mark its trails permanently so they could always find them again.

The riders were making camp where the land dipped and good watch could be kept from a ridge above, when Ayana Maclaster came galloping back from scouting up ahead. She looked green around the mouth.

"Come look," she croaked, and wheeled to return the way she'd come.

With a heart full of foreboding, Sheel rode after her

    Read more about the Holdfast series >>  
Electric Story e-version in preparation
Tor/Orb SF Classics Trade paper September 2001 ISBN: 0312866062  
Tor Paperback December 1995 ISBN: 0812548191  
Tor Hardcover June 1994 ISBN: 0312857179