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Califia's Daughters Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 2004
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In the not-so-distant future Richards envisions, women warriors guard their peaceful, self-sustaining California enclave, hunting, planting, harvesting, and keeping watch over the men and boys essential to survival after most males perished along with electric power and fossil-fuel-driven engines. When Dian and her pregnant sister, Judith, discover two strange wagons headed their way, they are suspicious and, when they recall a single, armed wagon's devastation on a settlement called the Smithy village only a year ago, frightened. With men, children, and elders safely hidden in a cave, however, the visitors are carefully welcomed in a well-guarded, open area. They hail from southern Oregon, 300 miles away, and bring valuable gifts: Isaac, a grown man, and his small son. They wish to join forces with the Californians to escape the waterborne, irradiated contaminants let loose by an aggressive group led by one Queen Bess. This sets in motion an engaging adventure in which Dian must make a hazardous journey to investigate the northern dangers. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From the Inside Flap
Set in the near future and inspired by the captivating myth of the warrior queen Califia, this brilliantly inventive novel tells the story of a small, peaceful community of women tucked away in a world gone mad.
Only the elders of the Valley remember life the way it used to be, when people traveled in automobiles and bought food others had grown. When the ratio of male to female was nearly the same. Before the bombs fell, and a deadly virus claimed the world's men.
Now, civilization's few surviving males are guarded by women warriors like Dian, the Valley's chief protector, as fierce and loyal as the guard dogs she trains. When an unexpected convoy of strangers rides into her village, it is
Dian who meets them, ready to do battle.
To her surprise, the visitors come in peace and bear a priceless gift, whose arrival is greeted with as much suspicion as delight. And indeed, the strangers want something in return, a request that could change the future of
the Valley into one of hope--or utter desolation.
It is up to Dian to discover their motive, in a journey that will cost her far more than she ever imagined, a journey from which she may never return.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first two-thirds of the novel are too slow for my tastes - very tedious character development. The exception is the emerging main character, Dian, who is a tough, strong loner who'd rather be out hunting than tucked safely in the enclave. That said, the novel doesn't really begin to shine until Dian makes a long journey to investigate a possible threat, and encounters and even great danger. Her emotions and action through that time rescues the story from the initial tedium.
However, if you like this niche, I recommend alternatives: The Gate To Women's Country (Sherri S. Tepper), The Shore of Women (Pamela Sargent), and The Shore of Monsters (David J. Nix (the author of this review)).
The wrap-up was so fast and superficial I felt cheated out of something that should have taken another hundred pages. One short chapter and we're done. Unfortunately, the end of a story, whether it's a book or a movie, can spoil what had been pleasurable up to that point. I felt cheated out of the richness that the author had bestowed on every other aspect of the book. The Homecoming! It should have been glorious and equally rich in detail, despite the book's hefty length. It's almost as if Ms. Richards/Ms. King got tired of telling the story and rushed to happily ever after before I was ready for it.
Still, I can't bring myself to mark the book down more than one star for it.