* To be featured on the Orbit website at www.orbitbooks.co.uk
Orson Scott Card is the award-winning author of the Ender saga, the Alvin Maker series and the Homecoming series. He lives with his wife and three children in the US.
The third volume of Card's Homecoming Saga continues the epic tale begun in The Memory of Earth . After 40 million years, the artificially intelligent guardian computer (the ``Oversoul'') of the planet Harmony--created to keep the human colonists at a relatively low technological level so they don't repeat the devastations wrought on Earth--has begun to fail. In order to repair itself and avert disaster, it has gathered a group from the city of Basilica, hoping to guide them through the desert to the place where the ancient starships wait, eventually to return to Earth. From the start, however, the band has been riven by internal conflicts. Some, such as Nafai and his wife Luet, can hear the Oversoul's voice in their minds clearly and follow its plans willingly, while others, such as Nafai's older brother Elemak and his followers Mebbekew and Obring, are not so cooperative and seek a way to return to the comforts of civilization. At times the conflicts even erupt into violence, but gradually each obstacle is overcome, though the participants are left with emotional scars. Throughout, Card weaves thoughts on such matters as religion, tradition and the needs of the community versus those of the individual, using Biblical allusions to drive home his points. Though the text is at times a bit preachy, Card posits no simplistic answers, and the series continues to be interesting and provocative. (Feb.)
'Haunting, compulsive, urgently readable...Story-telling genius' INTERZONE 'Certain to be one of the most sought-after books of the year' LOCUS 'Full of surprises...Intense is the word for Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME' NEW YORK TIMES