The first coming was the Man:
The second was Fire to burn Him;
The third was water to drown the Fire;
The fourth is the Bird of Dawning.
Twenty years have passed since the martyrdom of the Boy-piper at York, twenty years in which his legacy, the movement of Kinship, has challenged the tyranny of the Church Militant in Britain’s seven island kingdoms.
Now his namesake, Tom, bearing the Boy’s own pipes and perhaps himself imbued with the spirit of the White Bird, is wandering Europe in company with the girl, Witchet. But disaster overtakes them and Tom, in a fury of vengeance, breaks his vow of Kinship.
A terrible path lies before him, one that transcends his own world. As he travels it, Tom must come to understand the true nature of the wild White Bird, of The Bride of Time and her Child, and of the Song the Star Born sang.
With the same rich imagination and dazzling insights that won him the International Fantasy Award, Edgar Pangborn weaves a magical tapestry set far in man’s future.
It is a time when man, struggling to rise above the ashes of nuclear holocaust, has returned to the simpler values and lifestyle of medieval times. And in this society, Demetrios the storyteller is revered among men for his captivating tales of the Old Time, with its miraculous Telephones, and Jet Planes, and TV, and Automobiles. But Demetrios is also feared – for one storyteller with a head full of ancient truth can be dangerous.
So Demetrios is forced to flee, with six compatriots, and together they embark on a journey full of unexpected sorrows, and unimagined delights, a journey through realms of fantasy, philosophy, and rich human possibility, which the reader will be delighted and privileged to share.
From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to one of the unique voices of British science fiction, John Middleton Murry, Jr, who wrote his best work under the pen name Richard Cowper.
The son of the famous critic John Middleton Murry, Cowper announced himself to the science fiction world in 1967 with BREAKTHROUGH, which found favour for a subtlety and richness of characterisation not seen in most contemporary SF. The idea of a transformed future England became his signature leitmotif and it is this theme that informs the Corlay tales contained in this omnibus. This is the complete Corlay sequence, featuring introductory novella ‘PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN’ and novels THE ROAD TO CORLAY, A DREAM OF KINSHIP and A TAPESTRY OF TIME.
THE ROAD TO CORLAY:
On the Eve of the Fourth Millennium a slowly-building civilization, struggling out of the rubble of the Drowning, was crushed beneath the sceptre of a powerful and repressive Church. But on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the sound of a magical pipe was heard, and the air was filled with songs of freedom and enlightenment. And on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the Boy appeared, bringing the gift of sacrilege, a harbinger of the future, heralding the arrival of the White Bird of Dawning. It is the coming of a New Age. A glorious future bearing the presents of the past!
A DREAM OF KINSHIP:
They came to destroy! The treacherous Falcons, uniformed in the black leather tunics of the fanatic Secular Arm, descended on Corlay to burn and kill. Commanded by Lord Constant, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, they were determined to crush the religious heresy of Kinship. But a new dream rose from the ashes… When four Kinsmen escaped the carnage of their beloved land, each helped to fulfill the miracle that had been foretold: the coming of the Child of the Bride of Time.
A TAPESTRY OF TIME:
Twenty years have passed since the martyrdom of the Boy-piper at York, twenty years in which his legacy, the movement of Kinship, has challenged the tyranny of the Church Militant in Britain’s seven island kingdoms. Now his namesake, Tom, bearing the Boy’s own pipes and perhaps himself imbued with the spirit of the White Bird, is wandering Europe in company with the girl, Witchet. But disaster overtakes them and Tom, in a furry of vengeance, breaks his vow of Kinship. A terrible path lies before him, one that transcends his own world. As he travels it, Tom must come to understand the true nature of the wild White Bird, of The Bride of Time and her Child, and of the Song the Star Born sang.
Through the means of what he calls “speculative fiction”, Michael Bishop examines the various links between man and the supernatural by exploring the relationships and conflicts between mortals and deities of other worlds, in other times and within other cultures. His scope isn’t limited to alien environments, however. Bishop’s talent for transforming the commonplace into the fantastic often reaches into our own backyards, and the results are astounding:
– A father’s love for his son and the influence of the evangelist’s strange teachings prompt a desperate and violent act.
– In a surreal world of unceasing movies where the inhabitants serve constantly as an audience, one man seeks to confront he ultimate power which controls their lives.
– A young boy’s talent for ventriloquism results in an irresistible summons from an all-powerful source.
– A Midwestern farmer’s compelling visions draw him to the oceanic god of an unusual cult.
– Mysterious airborne hieroglyphics become a young scientist’s obsession.
With these and other stories, Michael Bishop weaves a colourful tapestry of character, theme and circumstance which attests to his position as on of the best in the field.