From C.J. Cherryh, one of science fiction′s greatest writers and a 3-time Hugo Award "Best Novel" winner, comes the exciting and long-awaited follow-up to Hammerfall, the second novel of the Gene Wars, now in mass market.
In the second volume of "The Gene Wars," C. J. Cherryh further explores the captivating new universe where two interstellar empires, scarred by nanotechnology weaponry, hover in an uneasy detente. Perched at the edge of the galaxy, tiny Concord Station holds the balance of the universe within its carefully regulated worlds. For, created to carefully monitor the crucial desert planet below, it lies in the tenuous intersection between the territories of Earth and the alien Ondat.
Marak Trin Tain has saved a planet′s people from total destruction, when the implacable ondat sent down a hammerfall to destroy the planet and keep its deadly nanoceles from changing life and evolution forever. But the regrowing planet is fragile, and a deadly cataclysm could destroy Marak--and with him, the hope for peace within the universe.
Meanwhile, on Concord, an unexpected ship from Earth disrupts the uneasy truces between human and alien, and the consequences could restart the terrible Gene Wars that once destroyed most of humanity.
About the Author
C. J. Cherryh—three-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award—is one of today's best-selling and most critically acclaimed writers of science fiction and fantasy. The author of more than fifty novels, she makes her home in Spokane, Washington.
Read an Excerpt
Forge of Heaven
By Cherryh, C. J.
Grozny was where Lebeau Street mingled with the Style, where the low haunts of Blunt Street flowed into the Trend and rubbed shoulders with the rich and carefree.
Heart of the Trend on Concord Station, Grozny Street, where the Style walked side by side with gray-suited, slumming Earthers from exclusive upper levels, the ruling class making their own statement in shades of pearl and charcoal. Flashing newsboards warred, streaming stock and futures tickers under cosmetic adverts and the dockside news. A ship from Earth was coming in. That was major news, rare and interesting, but it didn't immediately affect the Trend, and it didn't affect Procyon, né Jeremy Stafford, walking home from dinner, an easy stroll through the neon and the crowds.
There was Jonah's Place, and The Ox, there was Right Ascension, Farah's, and La Lune Noir, there was The Body Shop and the Blue Lounge -- and the Health Connection, which cleaned up the Body Shop's done-on-a-whims. There was Tia Juana's, the Ethiopia, and the high-toned Astral Plane ... not to mention the exclusive little shops that sold everything from designer genes to boots -- and there was The Upper Crust, that very nice little pastry shop that Procyon did his best to stay out of.
The whole station came to Grozny to relax -- well, except those solid citizens content with the quiet little establishments in their own zones, or with the output of their own kitchens. Most day-timers to Grozny took the lift system into the Trend. Very few citizens had the cachet or the funds to live here.
But Jeremy -- who preferred to be Procyon -- had the funds, a fact clear enough in the cut of the clothes, the precious metals of the bracelets, the small, tasteful modifications that an observer might automatically suspect were at issue here, since the body was goodlooking.
He was twenty-five and single. He was a former Freethinker turned Fashionable because he liked it, not because he lived by the social tyranny of the Stylists. And he was fit and in condition the hard way, not because he had any great fear of mods, but because of a certain personal discipline. He spent every third night working out at Patrick's Gym, every next night taking laps at the Speed Rink, and only every seventh night carousing with friends down at Tia Carmen's or wherever else their little band of affluent young professionals decided to gather.
He had turned toward home tonight from that seventh-night gathering, warm with drink and the recollection of good company. Home was a little behind the main frontage of Grozny, so to speak, a Tshaped pocket, a pleasantly lit little dead-end street called Grozny Close, which protected its hundred or so apartments from the traffic and rush and the slightly higher crime rate of Grozny Street proper. Number 201 Grozny Close, sandwiched between a highly successful lawyer and a retired surgeon, had a blue door, a shining chrome arch, and a tall orchid tree that Grozny Close maintenance changed out whenever its blooms failed. The whole Close was a riot of such wellkept gardens, and the air consequently smelled less of the restaurants out on the street and far more of the lawyer's gardenias.
The button beside the door knew his thumbprint and let him in, and after the security system looked him over and decided he was absolutely the owner, the floor lifted him up to the main level, the middle one.
It wasn't a huge apartment. It had fine amenities -- the wall-to-wall entertainment unit in the main room was his life's greatest extravagance, the one he personally most enjoyed. But, being he'd had a few drinks, it was upstairs that drew him more than the evening news, which he knew was going to be full of speculation on that inbound ship and no real information at all.
Boring stuff. And he was too tired to order a sim, which cost, and which would run longer than he would stay awake. He took the few steps up, undressed, and slipped into the floating, drifting serenity of his own bed.
Eyes shut. Perfect. Not a care in the world.
Eyes wide open. His parents' anniversary. He'd forgotten to get the requisite present.
"Sam," he moaned. Sam was what he called the computer. "Sam, day reminder for 0830h, onquote: anniversary, endquote. Night, Sam."
"Good night," Sam said sweetly, not questioning the enigma of the note. "Sleep tight."
His mother had used to say that. Whimsy or guilty secret, it put him in a mind to rest, so he assigned it to Sam. Sleep tight.
Duty was done. Work tomorrow. Life was very good.
Morning became a suspicion in the east. The beshti set to munching the nearby brush, a noisy activity, distraction to a man trying to sleep in his tent until after the sun rose. But so was a wife with notions of lovemaking. Hati was determined, and Marak Trin Tain never refused that request.
That took its time. Hati got her due, and more, and the night watcher politely left them alone, always there, but inattentive. Marak lay afterward with his wife in his arms, eyes shut, listening to the beshti at their breakfast, listening to the boys begin to stir about in the dawn.
Boys: the young men of this generation, two of them with wellgrown beards. Young blood was anxious for adventure, willing to cook and pack and heft the big tent about. Marak could show them what they couldn't learn in the Refuge. He could show them the old skills, the knowledge that had kept their ancestors alive. He could tell them about the desert as it had been and as it was, and they drank in such stories.
Young people nowadays were ambitious to recover the world, living in notions the old stories gave them. A few, yes, wanted to be technicians and stay in the halls of the Refuge forever. But a good many more wanted to go adventuring and slip the wellthought law of the Refuge for the absolute freedom of the horizons ...Continues...
Excerpted from Forge of Heaven by Cherryh, C. J. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.