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Flawed but impressive and highly unusual post-nuclear (?) disaster yarn from a Britisher making her debut, set in the Malaysian peninsula of Southeast Asia. In Jones' far future, technological civilization has decayed or been destroyed, save for a single enclave amid the wastelands where strange androids are created by machine and eventually destroyed by it; Divine Endurance, a goddess (?) in cat form, oversees (?) the process. When the machine produces two children, the boy Wo (""Worthy to be Beloved"") and the girl Cho (""Chosen Among the Beautiful""), Wo is immediately given to nomads and vanishes. Later, the machine expires, so Divine Endurance and Cho must depart the enclave. (We don't know it yet, but Wo and Cho are immortal and programmed to give people what they want.) Wo, who was picked up years before by the semi-mythical Rulers, helps them with their plan to destroy the various societies of the peninsula (the Rulers command ancient technologies, but are dying out and have a decidedly Twilight-of-the-Gods bent). So when Divine Endurance and Cho arrive, a terrible struggle is in prospect. Extremely demanding work, set forth with care and intelligence, with lots of convincing local color--but with an overlarge cast, a hard-to-follow plot, and too much left implicit that should be explicit. Puzzling and fascinating, both at once.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1987
Publisher: Arbor House