WINTER IN EDEN by Harry Harrison


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Sequel to West of Eden (1984) and middle entry in what has expanded into a trilogy: Harrison's sprawling, sputtering, humorless epic wherein Stone Age humans battle intelligent reptiles for control Of an alternate Earth as a glacial epoch approaches. The human hunter Kerrick has led his tribe, the Tanu, to victory over the reptilian Yilane, led by the human-hating fanatic Vainte; captured by the Yilane as a boy and forced to learn their language, Kerrick can anticipate their thoughts and actions. However, the Yilane soon counterattack with biological weapons to which the humans have no defense. In search of allies, Kerrick journeys into the frozen North, where the cold-blooded Yilane cannot follow; he is befriended by the ice-dwelling Paramutan and learns to hunt whales. Meanwhile, in a small but vastly more interesting development, a group of Yilane dissidents, led by the pacifist Enge and the scientist Ambalasi, wearying of pointless slaughter, journey in their living submarine to South America to found a new city. Then Kerrick, returning from the north and faced with the imminent extinction of the Tanu, uses his knowledge of the Yilane to perpetrate a gigantic bluff, so that his deadly enemy Vainte is ousted and exiled. Busy but dour, modestly inventive but mostly lifeless and blandly uncompelling: dull, often mechanical work from a veteran whose forte has always been comedy rather than drama. Only addicts will stay tuned for part three.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Bantam