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Hammerfall (Gene Wars) Mass Market Paperback – July 30, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Gene Wars
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (July 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061057096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061057090
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.4 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this well-done novel by the prolific, award-winning author of Precursor and Fortress of Dragons, two women with superhuman powers wage psychic and genetic war for control of a civilization. The common people remember the original colonization of their desert world in purely mythological terms as the First Descent. They're unaware that their seemingly immortal ruler, the Ila, has used nanotechnology to control their lives and modify their bodies for survival on their harsh planet. Marak Trin Tain, the outcast son of a desert bandit who unsuccessfully contested the Ila's rule, suffers from a terrifying form of madness. Like many others in this world, he sees visions and feels an almost overwhelming desire to walk out into the desert, heading blindly toward the east. When the Ila captures Marak, instead of executing him, she decides to send him (and a company of other madmen and women) on a desperate mission to discover the source of the obsession that draws them across their world. Unbeknownst to him, however, his civilization, indeed all life on his planet, is on the brink of destruction. Although this book may take place in a different universe from that of Cherryh's much praised Alliance-Union novels, it features her usual blend of gorgeous, slightly knotty prose, deeply conflicted heroes, desperate action and nicely observed cultural details. The first volume in her Gene Wars series, it leaves a number of loose threads to be tied up in later volumes, but is, in and of itself, an entirely satisfying novel.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Brought before the powerful ruler known as the Ila, the madman known as Marak receives a command to seek out the silver tower of his mad dreams and return with the knowledge of what the tower holds. Marak discovers, however, that reaching his destination is only the beginning of a greater and more dangerous journey. Cherryh's latest novel introduces a new universe of fallen technologies and warring interstellar empires, divine madness and world-shattering weaponry. The author of Fortress in the Eye of Time begins a new series with a powerful story that features a hero marked by his visions to save or destroy his world. A good choice for most sf collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I've written sf and fantasy for publication since 1975...but I've written a lot longer than that. I have a background in Mediterranean archaeology, Latin, Greek, that sort of thing; my hobbies are travel, photography, planetary geology, physics, pond-building for koi...I run a marine tank, can plumb most anything, and I figure-skate.

I believe in the future: I'm an optimist for good reason---I've studied a lot of history, in which, yes, there is climate change, and our species has been through it. We've never faced it fully armed with what we now know, and if we play our cards right, we'll use it as a technological springboard and carry on in very interesting ways.

I also believe a writer owes a reader a book that has more than general despair to spread about: I write about clever, determined people who don't put up with situations, not for long, anyway: people who find solutions inspire me.

My personal websites and blog: http://www.cherryh.com
http://www.cherryh.com/WaveWithoutAShore
http://www.closed-circle.net

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 74 people found the following review helpful By MS on June 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
CJ Cherryh reminds me of the little girl who, `when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.' Unfortunately, this is one of the horrid books.
Although Cherryh's writing style has become ever more polished and skillful with time, the quality of her characters and stories are not always as consistent. In this case they are positively bad. Approximately 80% of this book is taken up with interminable descriptions of primitive tribesmen crossing a desert. The amount of science fiction is minimal, and there are no new or interesting ideas. The characters are flat, bland, humorless, and cloyingly politically correct. The story is boring, linear, and predictable.
There is a major hole in the plot you can drive a caravan through: A huge starship belonging to a sophisticated civilization has landed on one side of a desert. The people on the starship need to send a very urgent message a few hundred miles to the other side of the desert. Inexplicably, instead of using advanced technology, they entrust this urgent message to a caravan of primitive tribesmen, who must travel for weeks to deliver it. They practically drive the tribesmen (and the reader!) insane with continual fatuous mental messages to hurry up. Finally it's revealed that the starship had small `fliers' all along.
If a ten year old thought up a plot like this, I would laugh and gently point out the inconsistency. When a Hugo and Nebula award-winning author uses this as a central pillar of her story, I am left aghast by the magnitude of her self-indulgence and her contempt for the reader.
What happened to the believable characters and the powerful, original, fast-moving story of Downbelow Station? The layer upon layer of political intrigue of Cyteen?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Scott on July 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
'Hammerfall' is a tremendously rewarding novel. I couldn't wait to get home from work so I could pick it up again. The main strengths of this novel are Ms. Cherryh's reknowned world-building skills and her believable characters...which is not to say it lacks a compelling plot.
The world of 'Hammerfall' is fascinating in its complexity. Ms. Cherryh has created a wonderful desert world peopled with God-like rulers and nomadic desert tribes. The camel-like beasts of burden are fascinating. The characters are richly imagined and deftly drawn. We, the readers, completely understand the main character's motivations and are able to sympathize with the tough decisions he has to make.
The plot is the weakest part of the novel. Essentially, the book is made up of three trips across a wide desert. Cherryh spices it up with the 'mad' visions sent to special characters and the constant threat of danger from the skies, but, as mentioned earlier, the magnificent tapestry of her fictional world make the book interesting reading even with a less-than-compelling plot.
Though the plot is slow, I believe that when this book is viewed as part of the overall series (of which there is at least one more book to come), it will fall neatly into place as the first volume of an exceptional and very worthwhile series. Highly recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David A. Lessnau on July 27, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't believe it. Prior to my reading this novel, I've loved most everything Cherryh has written. This is the first of her works that I haven't at least liked. It started out well: I was fully engrossed in the protagonist's trip through the desert. But then, after that, Cherryh had them travel back (with a probable trip back, again). Half way through that first return trip, I said enough was enough, nothing's happening, and put the book away. Aside from the utter lack of a meaningful plot, I just couldn't fathom WHY this was happening: one group of galactics needs to contact another, apparently fugitive, galactic and they take 30 years to do it via nanobots in the general population who then have to walk across the desert and die in droves to even find out that someone wants someone else to receive a message? Huh? Why didn't those galactics use some equivalent of a radio? At the very least they could have tried walking up to the front door and talking. How about skywriting? Dropping a message capsule on the city? Literally anything would have been more efficient than what they did. I don't know why Cherryh wrote this the way she did, but I hope it's not repeated.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gary P. Moreau on November 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are science fiction writers who are good, some who are excellent, and a few who are masters. CJ Cherryh is a master. I've read the comments of other reviewers and sense a great deal of impatience. Reading a book is not a race. Hammerfall is an excellent story written with prose that is a pleasure, with phrases, descriptons and characters that can be savored. The reason this book has been reviewed by so many is that CJ Cherryh is one of the pre-eminent authors of SF/F, past or present. For those of you who are in a hurry to get through life, go to a movie with lots of noise and bombs, but little substance. For those of you who take pleasure in the elegant details of life, read Hammerfall and take pleasure in it. I do have one confession to make: I too am impatient, impatient for the next oportunity to share in the imagination and skills of a writer as gifted as CJ Cherryh. For those of you who are already fans of CJ Cherryh, just read it and enjoy it. For those of you who are new to Cherryh, read it and enjoy it. A novel by CJ Cherryh is a promise of pleasure and Hammerfall is a promise kept.
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