The second and concluding volume of Ian Watson's extraordinary epic, The Book of Mana. Kaleva is Earth's first and only interstellar colony, discovered by Lucky Sariola who was transported there by an Ukko, a mysterious asteriod-like entity that responds to stories told to it - in Lucky's case, those of her Finnish grandmother. Now Queen Lucky, half-mad and newly widowed, is obsessed by relocating that Ukko - but this is potentially disastrous, as the snakelike alien Isi are also on its trail as part of their design to enslave humans. Understanding this, one of Lucky's daughters (with obsessions of her own) crowns herself rival queen. A summer turns into unseasonable winter and elysian peace turns to bitter civil war and Ukko, once more, has a role to play in the history of Kaleva.
Ian Watson was born in 1943. He lectured in Tanzania and Tokyo and taught Future Studies at Birmingham Polytechnic. He began publishing SF with 'Roof Garden Under Saturn' for New Worlds in 1969 but it was with the publication of The Embedding in 1973 that he really established himself as a writer of rare power and vision. Michael Bishop was born in 1945 and studied English at the University of George. His other acclaimed novels include A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, Transfigurations, Stolen Faces and Ancient of Days.