The Waters Rising by Sheri S. Tepper
The Waters RisingThe world is changing. Millennia before the land had been devastated. Millions of people had been killed off in the Before Time. Now the water levels on the world are rising. If something isn’t done, the world will be under water within another two to three centuries. Every land dwelling creature, including people, will not survive if that happens.
Xulai is connected to the “Woman Upstairs” in the tower. The beautiful woman, Xu-i-lok, is dying. Xulai can hear her in her head. Xu-i-lok wants the child to go into the woods and find a hidden object. Xulai is afraid, but knows she has to do what the woman wishes.
In the woods she meets Abasio, a wandering jack of all trades, and his talking horse Blue. Although Abasio won’t accompany her into the forest to the temple to find the thing. Shortly after she accomplishes her mission and completes Xu-i-lok’s request, the older woman dies. Now Xulai has to leave the country where she has grown up and return with Xu-i-lok’s soul to Tiangawa. Her nanny, her protector Precious Wind, and a Tiangawan warrior, Bear, are part of the party taking her to her home country. Abasio joins their group.
Alicia, the Duchess of Altamont, is responsible for the poison that killed Xu-i-lok. She and her mother, Queen Mirami, wants all Tiangawans to be killed. They start with the ones on their continent. Their long term plan is to invade Tiangawa itself and wipe it out as well. Xulai’s troupe has to avoid her as they travel to the ship to take them Tiangawa. The abbey is their first goal because of the refuge they should find there.
Sheri S. Tepper is a master of cautionary apocalyptic fiction. The Waters Rising tells the story of a world where the environment was ruined and has returned. Now the world is threatened by water instead of radiation. Genetic manipulation was rampant in the Before Time. Remnants of that time still exist. Some of the knowledge is still hidden away.
For a long time I wasn’t sure if The Waters Rising was more fantasy or science fiction. It really is a combination of both. It resolves into mostly science fiction, but starts mostly as fantasy. Tepper leads the reader through the take with dark evil, magic, and reluctant heroism. The characters are real.
At times Tepper gets preachy. If only all the evil were eliminated then the world would be a better place. If man doesn’t quit messing with technology, it will take over and ruin the world. If people don’t take care of the environment, it will take them over. In other words, if people quit being people and be the best they can be, all will be great.
Although it’s a quiet book, The Waters Rising is a winner. It shows us where we could go if we don’t monitor ourselves.
The Waters Rising pulls the reader in. It’s not a page turner; instead this book is a magnet. It can be put down, but the lure of the story line is hard to resist. By the last third I just had to know what all the twists and ins and outs were about.