Hiero's Journey : a Romance of the Future by Sterling E Lanier
Radnor, Pennsylvania : Chilton Book Company, 1973. First Edition; First Printing. Hardcover. 280 pages ; 24 cm. $6.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Dampness to title page where the subtitle meet the author name and a bit of rubbing removed from the subtitle. There are no markings or issues within the pages. Binding is firm.
A Romance of the Future by Sterling E. Lanier
". . . Two cartloads wide, this particular dirt road was hardly an important artery of commerce between the East of Kanda and the West, out of which Hiero was now riding. The Metz Republic, which claimed him as a citizen, was a sprawling area of indefinite boundaries, roughly comprising ancient Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta . . . . There were so few people in comparison to the land area that territorial boundaries were somewhat meaningless in the old sense of the word. They tended to be ethnic or even religious, rather than national.
"The Taig. the vast boreal forest of conifers which had spread across the northern world at least a million years before The Death, still dominated the North. It was changed, however, with many species of warm country plants intermingled with the great pines. Some plant species had died, vanished entirely, as had some animals also, but most had survived, and adapted to the warmer climate. . . . The polar caps had shrunk and the earth was once again in another deep interglacial period. What had caused the change to be so drastic, man or nature, was a debated point. . . . Scientists . . . however, never stopped searching for more data on the lost ages in an effort to help shape the future. The terror of the ancient past was one thing which had never been lost, despite almost five thousand years. That The Death must never be allowed to come again was the basic reason for all scientific training. On this, except for outlaws and the Unclean, all men were agreed. . . .
"As Hiero rode, his mnemonic training helped him automatically to catalogue for future reference everything he saw. ... A priest learned early that exact knowledge was the only real weapon against a savage and uncertain world. .. .
His thoughts reverted to his mission. . . . He had no illusions about the dangers involved in what he was doing. The world was full of savage beasts and more savage men, those who lived beyond any law and made pacts with darkness and the Leemutes. . . .
"The thoughts of fore-looking made Hiero rein the morse to a halt. Using the mind powers, with or without Lucinoge, could be very dangerous. The Unclean often had great mental powers too, and some of them were alerted by human thoughts, alerted and drawn to them. . . . Still, there had to be some danger anywhere, and fore-looking often helped one to avoid it if not used to excess...
" 'Do you have any idea what it is I am to seek for, sir?' Hiero asked. 'Or is it anything, just something that may turn up?"
" 'Well, there's that all right,' said the Father Abbot. 'But we're a bit more hopeful and knowledgeable . . . than that. We're looking for weapons, obviously. Now The Death was caused by weapons. We don't want those again, certainly. The plagues, the nuclear poisoners, all those things ought to stay buried. Unless the Unclean revive them, and I fear that mightily. . . . But there are other things of power which are more or less intangible, at least in ordinary terms...'"
Per Hiero Desteen, priest, telepath and trained killer, is a man sent on a dubious mission—a search for the lost powers of the ancients. There's a giant deer, a bear that thinks and—a girl. On the side of evil are a pack of wizards, all mental adepts, and their friends, some of whom are monster rats and giant ape-like things, and other creatures, some of them results of radiation-induced mutation. Assorted terrors lurk in the woods and waters. There's sudden death, with battle and murder as afterthoughts, In the shadows of ruined cities and the murk of great swamps, romance blooms.
Take an ocean voyage with pirates on a sea that's not for swimming. Follow Hiero on a titanic trek, across the wilds of what was once the United States and Canada, as they hunt for a secret which can save the last vestiges of human civilization. And of course, there's the Quest itself, which is the main thing.
Hiero's Journey is a fantasy chronicle of the future, equal in suspense and brilliance to Tolkien's classic, The Lord of the Rings.
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