A stand-alone science fiction book.
Publication year: 2003
Page count: 345
Publisher: Mythic Island Press
Jubilee is one of 16 children and the second oldest. Her mother is the keeper of Temple Huacho which (like all temples) is built around a well which produces kobolds which do pretty much of the all work in this society. They’re small machines and they also protect stuff from silver. Silver is a deadly substance which rises from the ground and kills people and animals who are caught in it. It also transforms matter which is caught in it, including buildings and landscape. The new constructs are called follies.
One night, Jubilee and her older brother Jolly descend to their mother’s kobold well and Jubilee is hurt. Later that night, silver creeps up again and comes into the house, eats away a part of the wall, and takes Jolly. Jubilee thinks that Jolly called it to himself but she can’t be sure and since she’s only eight years old, she convinces herself that she couldn’t have seen that.
Seven years later, Jubilee becomes convinced that her brother is still alive. One night, a strange and mysterious man steps out of silver and demands to know here Jolly is. Jubilee is shocked to see that the stranger is able to live in silver and apparently also command it. She starts to find information about silver and anyone who has survived in it, which turns out to be dangerous. At the same time, she finds out that she has a lover; a man she’s genetically destined to be with. Genetic compatibility is the only way to find a spouse in this world and Jubilee is very fortunate to have found her lover when they’re both young. Her uncle Liam has been searching his lover for 40 years, for example. However, Jubilee’s lover lives far away and traveling is dangerous because of silver.
This is a unique world, which feels post-Apocalyptic to me. There are remnants of ancient cities and also newer ones which have been swallowed by silver and spat out changed. The characters often ride in dusty landscapes or near mountains. The players (as people are called) travel from one temple to another with motor bikes and trucks but flying is forbidden. They use savants to communicate long distances. Savants seem to be floating computers which are directed with voice commands and they have a limited internet type function. The players are reborn into the world after death and they rely on skills they’ve learned in previous lives.
Jolly had a dog, Moki, and after Jolly was taken by silver Jubilee inherited Moki. He seems to be a hunting dog but small enough that he can be easily carried on a bike. I loved him; it’s so rare to see dogs in SF.
Jubilee is a strong-willed young woman who loved her brother dearly and took his death badly. She partly blames herself because she wasn’t old enough to prevent Jolly’s death. Silver is thought to be a remnant from the time when the goddess created the world. Silver also nourishes the kobolds and in that way keeps the society working.
The start was more fast-paced than the rest of the book and the ending was a bit abrupt.
This was a very good read. I especially enjoyed the different world and culture.