In an instant, Mathembe Fileli’s life was burned away... Now, in search of answers, she must traverse a divided nation.
Life in the village of Chepsenyt is idyllic. Despite the empire’s growing religious tensions, the people of Chepsenyt live together peacefully and ply their trades, growing useful objects through the manipulation of DNA. It was here that Mathembe Fileli grew up, with her father creating tools used in construction and her mother spinning clothes and food. That all changed in an instant.
The Broken Land mirrors Belfast resident Ian McDonald’s upbringing in Northern Ireland by depicting a nation cut in two by a violent religious divide. On one side are the Proclaimers, the ruling group that doesn’t believe in life after death, and on the other side are the Confessors, the opposing group whose thoughts are uploaded in the afterlife.
When two Confessors take shelter in Chepsenyt, the Emperor’s soldiers burn the village to the ground, throwing the whole country into civil war. In this newly perilous world, Mathembe must draw on her resourcefulness and inner strength to find her family and bridge the nation’s gaping rift.
"Inventive and often effective drama, but dense and oppressive, with the dark and anguished backdrop looming above the characters; and the ending bleakly acknowledges that, in terms of today's troubles, nothing much can be done." (Kirkus)"The world is a captivating one with its rampant biotechnology and passionate characters. But McDonald..., a lifelong resident of Belfast, also succeeds in presenting the religious and national conflict of an Ireland that still knows no respite from bloodshed." (Publishers Weekly)
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