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Banner of Souls Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405041242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405041249
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,621,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
powerful but bleak futuristic sci fi Sept. 29 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the far distant future, the surface of Earth is almost totally destroyed with most of the remaining survivors living under the sea. Mars is thriving, but few men live there and these are considered freaks. Women rule with an iron hand. Most people on Mars believe they are the mother planet and earth is the colony.

Martian warrior Dreams-of- War is sent to earth to guard a special child Lunae, who has the ability to shift through time. Yskaterina of Nightworld on the edge of the galaxy is sent to kill the child. The Kami scientists, who were able to separate mind from body, want human hosts so that they can explore the physical realm again. Lunae tries to stop them while Dreams-of War and Yskaterina fight to the death over the only person who can save humanity in the war that might be coming.

In BANNER OF SOULS earth is a bleak place with no hope for much of a future while Mars feels optimistic about is outlook. There are various subplots that add complexity to the tale and at times make it difficult to follow, but each one enhances the prime theme as they seamlessly merge into the story line. The characters are incredible as they are believable products of their environment coming from varying societies so that though the reader may not understand motivations, we can comprehend that consistency of each key player as decisions are made from a respective societal values' set. Futuristic sci fi fans will appreciate this powerful novel.

Harriet Klausner
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
best sci-fi I've read in a long time July 21 2005
By Megan N. Woodrum - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best books in general I've read in a very long time. It's hard to find original fantasy or science fiction anymore, but this book is not only original, it's deeply engrossing. There are so many small details that make this book more than just a good story, including the slightly Asian flavor. The characters are brilliant and vivid; even now, months later, they're still stuck in my mind. This is a brilliant gem of a novel.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Anima Rising Jan. 16 2005
By lb136 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The superb Liz Williams has another winner with her dreamy, impressionistic, but exciting "Banner of Souls." Set in a far future where Earth is mostly water and Mars is where the action is (the worlds are connected by a never fully explained piece of tech called "the Chain"), the tale revolves around Lunae, a young girl who can shift time; the Martian warrior "Dreams of War" (equipped with semi-sentient armor), who is sent to Earth as her protector; and, from "Nightshade," at the edge of the Solar System, comes Yskatarina Iye (equipped with a vast supply of prosthetic limbs along with her arachnid-like animus--ironically, pretty much all that's left of the male half of the human species). She is sent to Earth to remove Lunae from the scene.

The baroque characters are amazingly well drawn (even the minor ones) as they bash about, none quite knowing exactly what's going on (with the possible exception of Yskatarina), among creatures real and not real, alive and dead, human and mechanical.

In a previous book the author has acknowledged the influence of Jack Vance, and that influence certainly appears in this tale, too, with its vivid portrayals of strange worlds, strange creatures, and dry dialog. But this isn't a tribute by any means. It's a fine piece of work in its own right.

There's a banner on the front cover in which readers are advised that Liz Williams is "an author to watch." Just so. More important, she is an author to read. And read again.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not for everyone Nov. 17 2004
By Cami K - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A very strange story that will not appeal to just anyone. There's a sense of detachment from the characters because they are so far removed from humanity. It is far future and humans have augmented themselves in various ways that make them seem less human, such as the kappa (taken from Japanese myth). In most of known space there is only one gender: female. Children are grown like plants and, I assume, raised by communities. So there is no mother/father/family dynamic. Everything seems detached to me; I had a hard time caring for the characters.

I did like the structure of the book, though. How it switches back and forth in short chapters from the hunter to the hunted. And it is nicely written. Liz Williams is definitely a writer to watch!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Prequel to Winterstrike - Really Aug. 3 2015
By D. Grant - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Fans of Williams' novel Winterstrike on the internet often call for a sequel. This book is actually the first of the Winterstrike works, making Winterstrike the middle or second in series - it is the sequel already.
To allay the confusion, this novel is set in the same future world (where only women seem to exist), and the same settings on Mars, but is a few hundred or thousand years earlier than Winterstrike (one scene takes place in an abandoned parking garage-much of the action in a future Hong Kong). Many of the Mars locations and settings are the same - things in ruins in WS, are here whole and operating, or ready to get shot up. I am thinking even one of the characters in WS (the ghost of the library) might have been seen here in the earlier version.
In Banner, people more readily go to Earth, seemingly drowned or flooded by rising seas in the distant past. We also get a much clearer idea of who the "ghosts" are, and when they come from. Worse yet what their ultimate aim in the present, and on Mars,is.
This book is not so far back in the past that we get any explanation for how things got to this state, why the women exterminated the men, how Mars got terraformed, how the earth got degraded or anything along standard SF plot lines. Still, it is a well designed world, here, and in the more widely recognized WS which followed. Little time is wasted on explanation, and since there is lots of action, little need for it. The characters take things as they are, and zip right along as do we.
Much like Winterstrike, this is a signal achievement, and really does raise the level of frustration that there is not a follow-up book. Still for fans of the much better known Winterstrike, this is a great opportunity to see more of this imaginative and thought-provoking world. Read it and hope there is a third still to come.

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