Since the time of pre-history, carpetmakers tie intricate knots to form carpets for the court of the Emperor. These carpets are made
from the hairs of wives and daughters; they are so detailed and fragile that each carpetmaker finishes only one single carpet in his entire lifetime.
This art descends from father to son, since the beginning of time itself.
But one day the empire of the God Emperor vanishes, and strangers begin to arrive from the stars to follow the trace of the hair carpets. What these strangers discover is beyond all belief, more than anything they could have ever imagined...
This story weaves through many different lives across galaxies who all intersect in one way or another. Very intelligently layered and
then unveiled. I felt drawn into each individual story. There were so many little secrets that were revealed. And not every story was tightly wound back up but gave you enough to come to your own
conclusions -- in both storyline & in emotion that built up from the start of the chapter to the end. There were chilling, sad, thought-provoking, hopeful, surprising, and shocking endings to
each chapter... you never knew what to expect. But I think Eschbach saved the best heart-wrenching moment for his ending. It gave us a personal acknowledgment (a bit of a release too) to what was
lost in just one family. The book starts out with one murderous act, and its repercussions resonate throughout the next generation. The book really highlights how one person's small or large actions
ripple across years and affect an unknown amount of people be it rulers, fathers, soldiers, etc, who start these acts.
I enjoyed the entirety of this book's journey. Its sci fi, but it also has this ancient world feel when you land on the planets with their heavy traditions, society hierarchy, isolation, superstitions, and so on. Its also about the aftermath of a dictatorship and changing people's beliefs and fears. Its about changing entire civilizations' relationships with its population as the news of the end of this dictatorship is spread. And its amazing how there's so much work accomplished, yet there is so little change. There are so many acceptance issues because these people have been brainwashed for generations. How easy is that to picture happen now-a-days?... extremely!
There is one issue Eschbach does not resolve and that's regarding the Emperor's ability to live for thousands of years. But as the character Emparak said at the end of the book when asked about what the vast library contained: "Other histories." The door is so open! I wish there was more. What other secrets is Eschbach hiding in there?
"Understanding alone cannot withstand time; it changes and fades away. But shame is like a wound that is never exposed and therefore never heals." You feel this thought throughout the chapters and with each character. Its an illustration of the atrocities that will never be forgotten. Sadly, great evil cannot be erased or pushed under the "rug" forever. When I finished the book, the term "collateral damage" came to mind instantly. This book was an entrancing story about all the common people affected by two men's heated words and vengance.
This is one of those phenomenal works. It stays with you, it changes perceptions, it makes you curious, and it gives you a thirst for more. I would gladly experience it again and again! I loved it on many levels. Truly one of the best science fiction works of this century. Its both historical and futuristic, which is the perfect combination for someone like me!
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse