Composer and dancer Anna van Tuyl is working on her masterpiece, a work she has titled “The Rose”. Her progress is stymied, however, when her body begins suddenly to change. For no knowable reason, she begins to grow strange protuberances, her body warping more day by day. Desperate to complete her symphony before her life becomes subsumed by these growths, she encounters a painter suffering from the same affliction.
Ruy Jacques is an artist, famed for his works and full of inspiration despite his condition. His wife is a scientist, a woman of logic, working to build the perfect weapon. While Anna at first believes she has found a saviour and kindred spirit in Ruy, she instead finds herself in the middle of a tense battle between art and science, with building jealousy and resentment.
Is the true goal the completion of her work, or the possibility of a cure? Is it better to seek immortality through their art, or a full life through science?
Award-winning author Charles Harness’ lost classic was rediscovered by Michael Moorcock more than a decade after it was first published, and champsioned by him to great acclaim. IT was awarded the Retro-Hugo award in 2004.