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In the middle of the Pacific, a gigantic hurricane accidentally triggered by nuclear explosions spawns dozens more in its wake.
A world linked by a virtual-reality network experiences the devastation first hand, witnessing the death of civilization as we know it and the violent birth of an emerging global consciousness.
Vast in scope, yet intimate in personal detail, Mother of Storms is a visionary fusion of cutting-edge cyberspace fiction and heart-stopping storytelling in the grand tradition, filled with passion, tragedy, and the triumph of the human spirit.
Nou Occitan is a place where duels are fought with equal passion over insults and artistic views alike. Giraut—swordsman, troubador, lover—is a creature of this swashbuckling world, the most isolated of humanity’s Thousand Cultures.
But the winds of change have come to Nou Occitan. As the invention of the “springer”—instantaneous interstellar travel, at a price—spreads throughout the human galaxy, the stability and purity of no world, no matter how isolated, is safe. Nor can Giraut’s life remain untouched. To his wonder, his is about to find himself made an ambassador to a different human world, a place strange beyond his wildest imaginings.
Wednesday, September 5, 1973: The first day of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of what he calls “the Madman Underground”—a group of kids forced (for no apparent reason) to attend group therapy during school hours. Karl has decided that senior year is going to be different. He is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act—and be—Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has five after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother…and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.
Welcome to the Thousand Cultures—in which humanity’s hundreds of settled worlds are finally coming back together, via the recently invented technology of instantaneous travel. And in which Giraut and Margaret work as professional diplomats, helping to finesse the stresses and strains of so much abrupt new contact among wildly diverse cultures.
Now, however, their task is to bring in the terrifyingly hostile world of Briand, a planet of broiling acid oceans whose only habitable portions are Greenland-sized subcontinents that project out of the abyssal heat of the planetary surface into it stratosphere.
But Briand’s physical hostility is nothing compared to the venom its two human cultures bear toward one another. Into this terrible world come Giraut and Margaret to try to do the right thing by the Cultures, by the inhabitants of Braind, and by one another.
It is said (by whom, we are not certain) that a child who tastes the Wine of the Gods too early is only half a person afterwards. Young Prince Amatus learned all too well the bitter truth of that ancient saying when he secretly sipped the forbidden elixir, leaving him literally half the lad he’d once been—not just a figure of speech; indeed, his left side vanished without a trace. His father, the fierce but fair King Boniface, was (only a figure of speech in this instance) beside himself, and the royal retainers responsible for the mishap were punished severely, leaving the young prince entirely without protectors.
But a year and a day later, four mysterious strangers appeared to take their places. And since a year and a day is an auspicious time in tales of this sort, it was clear to the King that Great Matters Were Afoot. There were whispers that these odd outlanders were not what they seemed, and King Boniface had many misgivings, but at last he relented—just as well, or there would…[more]
For the last thirty years, the survivors of the collapse has tried to exist Earthside. Space colonies like the Flying Duthman offer the last and best hope for the mother planet’s future; the adolescents on board the Dutchman really are humanity’s last hope, but knowing is a heavy burden - especially for Mel who has plans of her own.