Earth’s last hope?
The Arc, a being of immense power, trapped within a continuum too small, fights for its freedom. Its monumental struggle will touch a few select individuals on Earth – and in doing so, change their lives forever. The Arc may also be the last hope for humanity’s survival.
Author’s Note: The volumes of this series can each be read independently of the others. The feature that unifies them is their individual observations of science fiction’s sub-genre: “space opera,” which the editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer define as “colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes.”
At the heart of the wildwood lies a place of mystery and legend, from which few return and none emerged unchanged: Lavondyss . . . the ultimate realm, the source of all myth.
When Harry Keeton disappeared into Ryhope Wood, his sister Tallis was just an infant. Now, thirteen years old, she hears him whispering to her from the Otherworld. He is in danger. He needs her help. Using masks, magic and clues left by her grandfather, she finds a way to enter the primitive forest and begin her search. Eventually she comes to Lavondyss itself, a realm both beautiful and deadly, a place in which she is changed forever . . .
Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood won the World Fantasy Award and is among the most praised post-war novels of the fantastical. In this haunting sequel, Lavondyss, we are returned to the Wildwood and the mythos that Holdstock has made his own.
Winner of the BSFA Award for best novel, 1989.
The 21st century.
Europe is divided between the First World bourgeoisie, made rich by nanotechnology and the cheap versatile slave labour of genetically engineered Dolls and the Fourth World of refugees and homeless displaced by war and economic upheaval. In London, Alex Sharkey is trying to make his mark as a designer of psychoactive viruses, whilst staying one step ahead of the police and the Triad gangs. At the cost of three hours of his life, he finds an unlikely ally in a scary, super-smart little girl called Milena, but his troubles really start when he helps Milena quicken intelligence in a Doll, turning it into the first of the fairies.
Milena isn’t sure if she’s mad or if she’s the only sane person left in the world; she only knows that she wants to escape to her own private Fairyland and live forever. Although Milena has created the fairies for her own ends, some of the Folk, as fey and dangerous as any in legend, have other ideas about her destiny …
Early in the 21st century, after the Great Recession, poet and young mother Maggie Roche is harassed by a lovely woman, Sriyanie, and a famous neuroscientist, David Elfield. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is about to become history’s first time traveler. When agents from the far future attempt to kill her, in baffled fury she slingshots herself into the 7th millennium. Instantly she’s on the run from the Ull Lords and their virtual reality devotees. These superbeings are cyborged humans constructed to live forever, with the ambition to rule the universe.
Maggie is having none of this. Encountering an earlier version of Sriyanie, her fated future role in the formation of the multiverse falls upon her shoulder like a thunderous lightningbolt. A Being at the end of time she calls the Something wages endless war with its foes, the Ull Lords. Torn from her beloved child and her own time, Maggie must choose whether to accept this alienating path into an alternative cosmic history fit for a poet and a free woman.