Book Review: Svaha by Charles de Lint

Svaha – the moment between seeing lightening and hearing the thunder

In this novel from 1989 Charles de Lint mixes Native American characters with various Asian characters in a cyberpunk novel with incredible depth.

In the future the world has descended into large mega cities known as plexes and run by Nippojin companies, the squats where anyone not a citizen of near pure Nippojin ended up. Run by the Yazuka, the Tongs, and the triads. It is a very stratified society and if you don’t fit in you are pushed out.

Surprisingly those of Native descent actually managed to set up their own Enclaves where nature is nurtured. They are closed enclaves where only those of Native descent live and thy are filled with high tech working hand and hand with mysticism. Those outside want that technology.

An enclave flyer has crashed and the race is on between the Nippojin companies, the Yazuka, the tongs and the triads to own and control that technology.

As always in a de Lint book there are rich and well developed characters. He is the master of urban fantasy and mixes well research mysticism with the real world. Gazhee is a warrior who was sent out by his enclave to find and destroy the Claver technology and to find out what has happened to one of the Enclaves that has gone silent. Along the way he meets Lisa Bone, a young messenger girl who had been jumped by the chinas when she was carrying a package. The package held the chip to the claver technology and she had no idea.

The various plots within plots make this novel truly stand out. Jumping from the Plex, to the squats to the outlands and even into the Dreamtime, we have a tale to drag you from start to finish. Though this tale was written twenty five years ago it is perfectly good for today.

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