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By Robert Jackson Bennett

An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of useless gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city--from one in every of America's so much acclaimed younger SF writers.

town of Bulikov as soon as wielded the powers of the gods to beat the area, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors have been killed. Now Bulikov has turn into simply one other colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical strength, however the surreal panorama of the town itself—first formed, now shattered, via the hundreds of thousands of miracles its guardians as soon as labored upon it—stands as a continuing, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this damaged urban steps Shara Thivani. formally, the unassuming younger girl is simply one other junior diplomat despatched by means of Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is certainly one of her country's such a lot finished spies, dispatched to trap a assassin. yet as Shara pursues the killer, she begins to suspect that the beings who governed this negative position is probably not as useless as they seem—and that Bulikov's merciless reign won't but be over.

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Sigrud. ” the enormous takes out a fit, lighting fixtures it on a thumbnail, and units fireplace to the piece of paper. “S-secretary? ” says Pitry. Flames lick the giant’s arms. If this pains him, he doesn't convey it. After he deems the paper has sufficiently burned, he blows on it—puff—and embers dance around the station platform. He tugs the grey glove again on and surveys the station coldly. “Yes,” she says. “Now, if it doesn't difficulty you, i think i want to move directly to the embassy. Has the embassy proficient any of the officers of Bulikov approximately my arrival? ” “Well. Uh …” “I see. can we have ownership of the professor’s physique? ” Pitry’s brain whirls. He wonders, might be for the 1st time, what occurs to a physique after it dies—this unexpectedly turns out even more confusing than the whereabouts of its spirit. “I see,” she says. “Do you will have a automobile with you? ” Pitry nods. “If you are going to, please lead me to it. ” He nods back, puzzled, and takes her around the shadow-laden station to the auto within the alleyway. He can't cease glancing over his shoulder at her. this can be who they ship? This tiny, undeniable woman with the too-high voice? What may well she very likely wish to complete during this eternally adversarial, ceaselessly suspicious position? may she even final the evening? Even at the present time, when we have tried lots learn and recovered such a lot of artifacts, we nonetheless haven't any visible notion of what they seemed like. all of the sculptures, work, work of art, bas-reliefs, and carvings render the figures both vague or incoherently. For in a single depiction Kolkan looks as a delicate stone underneath a tree; and in one other, a dismal mountain opposed to the intense sunlight; and in another, a guy made up of clay seated on a mountain. And those inconsistent portrayals are nonetheless a good development over others, which render their topics as a obscure development or colour striking within the air, not more than the stroke of a broom: for instance, if we're to take the Continent’s old artwork at its notice, the Divinity Jukov normally seemed as a hurricane of starlings. As in such a lot of of those experiences, it's tough to finish whatever from such disparate scraps. One needs to ponder whether the topics of those artworks really selected to give themselves this fashion. Or, maybe, the themes have been skilled in a way that used to be most unlikely to translate in traditional artwork. maybe not anyone at the Continent ever fairly knew what they have been seeing. And now that the Divinities are long past, we'd by no means be aware of. Time renders everybody and all issues silent. And gods, it kind of feels, aren't any exception. —“THE NATURE OF CONTINENTAL ART,” DR. EFREM PANGYUI WE needs to CIVILIZE THEM She watches. She watches the crumbling arches, the leaning, cumbersome vaults, the tattered spires and the winding streets. She watches the pale tracery at the development facades, the patchwork of tiles at the sagging domes, the soot-stained lunettes, and the warped, cracked home windows. She watches the people—short, rag-wrapped, malnourished—stumbling via rectangular portals and porticoes, beggars in a urban of spectral wonders.

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