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Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman Paperback – January 11, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

This is the 30-years-in-coming sequel to Walter M. Miller's seminal work, A Canticle for Leibowitz. It chronicles the odyssey of Brother Blacktooth St. George, a fallen monk of the Leibowitz order who becomes secretary to the politically ambitious Cardinal Brownpony. Brownpony is involved in a complex scheme to break the rule of the Hannegan Empire, which dominates the 35th-century's post-apocalypse world. Even though Brownpony's plans will ultimately restore both the world and the declining Papacy to some form of order, he is not a religious man, although he is drawn to those who are. He sees something profoundly religious in Blacktooth, who on the surface seems to be a disgraced monk foundering in confusion because of his love for a woman, his semi-pagan visions of the Virgin Mary, and his nomadic heritage. Ultimately it seems that Brownpony's--and indeed humanity's--salvation may lie with Blacktooth, who will never quite realize how great is the gift he's been given. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The long-awaited sequel to the classic A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) was completed by Terry Bisson (Pirates of the Universe, LJ 3/15/96) from instructions left by Miller before his death in 1996. After World War III, America is divided into territories (Plains, Texark, Oregon, and others) struggling to reindustrialize. In this fragmented society, the papacy plays an important role in uniting the factions. In Texark, Nimmy Blacktooth regrets the vows he took to be a monk. While trying to get out of monastery life, he becomes embroiled in the search for a new pope. Unfortunately, despite its humor and social commentary, this book is a bit of a disappointment; the plot drags and seems pointless, and there is very little of the visionary sf that made the original so compelling. For larger sf collections and where the original book is popular.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (January 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553380796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553380798
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on December 22, 2003
Format: School & Library Binding
One author sets murders in a medieval Roman Catholic monastery and it becomes an object of popular acclaim. Another author sets Papal politics in a post-nuclear holocaust society and it's dubbed "Sci-fi", and tossed in the remainders bin. Neither book deserved the fate it received. Miller's second look at post-nuclear North American society reveals a church divided within and still struggling with Caesar after three millennia. Popes tend to church politics with one hand and civil society with another. Somewhere in the middle are the lesser religious tending their adherents or hiding from the conflicts.
One such "lesser religious" is a monk, Blacktooth St George. A resident at the monastery long dedicated to the memory of Isaac Leibowitz, nuclear scientist and martyr, Blacktooth harbours doubts about his calling. His roots are from the Plains people and their pagan heritage conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church's ideal of monotheism and self-sacrifice. Attempting to shed the burdensome vows, Blacktooth is conscripted to the service of a lawyer cardinal. Elia Brownpony, too, is a former Plainsman, but has risen quickly in the Church hierarchy due to diplomatic talents. Diplomacy usually involves conspiracy, and Brownpony must be adept at both for he is struggling to reunite the broken church. Theology isn't the basis of the schism, however. The expanding empire of Texark has challenged the Pope's power. Brownpony, wheeling and dealing, uses Blacktooth as a major instrument.
Politics are a lesser challenge to Blacktooth than the condition of his own spirit. Beset by visions and his glands alike, this mid-thirties adult is known as Nimmy, an appellation applied to young boys.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By William C. Fellers on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I don't really understand the overwhelming negative reaction to this work. I can see how someone who has loved and reread Canticle many times may have had their hopes of a true sequel left unfulfilled. Personally, I was amazed at the maturing of Miller's style and content, and his credible and immersive attempt at world building. I thought the tone, although more modern, was sufficiently similar to Canticle that I felt the connection necessary for "sequel nostalgia". I felt connected to the main characters, though, their thoughts and actions were sometimes mysterious, foreign, and often displeasing. But these were the things that affected me most about the story. The characters' world IS mysterious, foreign, and displeasing, as well as dangerous and primitive. From the gut-wrenching descriptions of death and illnesses, to the touching, if strange, relationship between the fallen monk Blacktooth and "genny" AEdrea, I found this novel to be an emotional and mind opening rollercoaster.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Having read the late Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz" in the 70's and reread it several times in the ensuing decades, I was pleased, and a bit surprised, to see a copy of his newest work "Saint Leibowitz and the Wild horse Woman" in a second hand book shop. After reading it I am no longer surprised at where I found it . The book is opaque and disjointed with only a vaguely outlined plot that goes nowhere in particular. I got the impression that Miller was trying to recapture the sprit of his earlier work but he ended up being a poor imitation of himself. If you want to read "Saint Leibowitz and the Wild horse Woman" to compare it to the earlier work, there will be at least one used copy back on the market.
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52 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am giving this book five stars to try to somewhat offset the plethora of "1 star" reviews. As I don't plan to "stuff the ballot box", it is more a token gesture. Walter M. Miller Jr. was one of the most gifted writers ever to write science fiction. A Canticle for Leibowitz, yes, but also his short fiction shows a command of the language that few of his contemporaries could match. I won't even begin to talk about current day writers, as the majority of their output compares favorably with the old "Dick and Jane" learn-to-read books.
I read A Canticle for Leibowitz in 1971, believe it or not, it was assigned reading in an English class. When I chanced upon Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman last year, I was thrilled to find it. What did I find? No, it's not up to A Canticle for Leibowitz in grace or content, but it is still an absorbing read. For those readers who can't take a little off-the-middle-of-the-road sexuality, and characterizations, relationships and plotting that makes them use the parts of their brains that TV and movies never awaken, I don't recommend it. For those who like to be enriched and challenged by what they read, try it. By all means, please read A Canticle for Leibowitz first, and then approach Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman not so much as a sequel but as a new story set in the same world, a possible future world that should chill you to the bone.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Angie Boyter VINE VOICE on October 25, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a disappointment! I was so excited when I received Amazon's glowing review of this book that I immediately ordered it in hardback! Save your money and re-read A Canticle for Leibowitz. Reportedly, Terry Bissom finished this book after Miller died. If so, he must have done so without touching the parts already written, which could generously be described as a very rough first draft, complete with clumsy sentence and paragraph construction, errors in grammar, and repetition. The world in which the book is set is confusing, and the map in the front doesn't help much, nor does the fact that each territory seems to have several names. The many characters also each have about three names in several languages, and it is almost impossible to keep them apart (Mad Bear, Half-Breed, etc.). A Dramatis Personae in the front would have helped a lot! The characters don't seem to have much ,and I wearied of the plot, which involved political/religious intrigue mixed with murky references to some pagan religion which may or may not have parallels to Native American or Oriental practices. And lots of sexual references. I was surprised at the positive critical reviews, and I was disappointed at their inaccuracy, e.g., Kirkus said that A Canticle for Leibowitz was Miller's only other novel, but I have another sitting on my shelf. If they can't even get their facts right, how can I trust their opinions?
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