It wasn’t until I started reading this book that I realised that it was a sequel to Chris Beckett's earlier title ‘DARK EDEN’. As such I have made some deductions as to what the first book was about.
The arrival of a Space-ship in another solar system. They called the Planet EDEN. Two opposing factions developed over time after the breakup of the human family of Eden.
The ‘Johnfolk’ emphasise knowledge and innovation while the ‘Davidfolk’ are more cohesive and traditional. Both have built hierarchical societies, sustained by violence, and dominated by men, and both claim to be the favoured children of a long dead woman from Earth that all Eden knows as Gela, the mother of them all.
Each chapter tell the story as seen through the eyes of the main characters. A little disconcerting until one has read sufficient chapters to understand the plot.
A new world occupied by disparate groups of family tribes. Each with its’ own traditions, folklore and memories. All stemming from the mysterious Gela, a diminutive form of the name Angela who, with others came from Earth generations ago. Over the generations groups separated and founded their own colonies. Unfortunately, as there were too few to start with, inbreeding gave rise to an underclass called ‘hole-faces’. Brothers and sisters being separated, the hole-faces being either used as slaves or usually killed after being born.
The colonies were all a part of Eden with names like ‘Worldpool’, in the centre, on the right ‘New Earth’ , ‘Old ground’, ‘Circle Valley, ‘Brown River’ and the tiny ‘Knee Tree Grounds’ where Starlight Brooking, the heroine, lives.
When Starlight and some of her family and friends visited Veeklehouse, in Old Ground, where the wreck of the original space vehicle is kept, she meets Greenstone Johnson who’s Father is the leader of the New Earth clan. They eventually marry and she becomes the ‘Ringwearer’ of Eden. The ring being the one worn by Gela, now a symbol of continuity, The engraving on the inside of the ring being ‘To Angela, with love from Mum and Dad’. The words not understood. The wearer becoming almost holy.
The internal and external politics of each group takes over the story. There is a sufficiency of murder and mayhem, jealousy, hate, love, cruelty as this society attempts to overcome its problems.
I was a little disappointed towards the end as Starlight Brooking seems to disappear into limbo and the story, to my mind petered out somewhat.
As an imaginative tale, even having not read the first book, I found interesting. How societies slowly form, and occasionally fall by the wayside, not unlike parts of our own Earth have over the millennia.
I would advise reading ‘DARK EDEN’ if at all possible first as I’m sure that continuity from the first to sequel would benefit the reader.
I give this book 2 anchors.