"On the desolate frostworld of Hraggellon, the inscrutable Onhla tribe -- half human, half animal -- has flourished for centuries. Then, suddenly, a mysterious plague wipes out the entire Onhla population, leaving only one survivor, a youth named Hult.
"But is Hult really the last of his kind?"
This text from the inner flap gives the basic plot of this fine, neglected science-fiction novel, but it can't convey the harsh beauty & richness of the story. In a brief 186 pages, author John Morressy touches on the plight & culture of indigenous peoples, the arrogance of imperial overreach, and the mythic dimensions of existence in a vast & uncaring universe. Nowadays this would probably be hundreds of pages long, possibly stretching over more than one volume -- and it wouldn't gain anything. Too many writers have forgotten the virtues of the economical, concise narrative ... which ironically often offers more depth & complexity than any bloated "epic" or "saga" ever could.
That's certainly the case here. Morressey gives us a compelling story set against a distinctly realized background. More -- he offers emotional power in a conclusion that never fails to move me, no matter how many times I read it. Does it really deserve 5 out of 5 stars? Objectively speaking, it's probably 4 stars -- but for me, it's a very personal & subjective 5 stars all the way for an unjustly forgotten gem. If you're looking for a solid, gripping story with more than its share of lonely & haunting wonder, I heartily recommend this book!