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God's War: Bel Dame Apocrypha Paperback – 2 May 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091952778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091952778
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 861,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kameron Hurley currently hacks out a living as a marketing and advertising writer in Ohio. She's lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Durban, South Africa; and Chicago, but grew up in and around Washington State. Her personal and professional exploits have taken her all around the world. She spent much of her roaring 20's traveling, pretending to learn how to box, and trying not to die spectacularly. Along the way, she justified her nomadic lifestyle by picking up degrees in history from the University of Alaska and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Today she lives a comparatively boring life sustained by Coke Zero, Chipotle, low-carb cooking, and lots of words. She continues to work hard at not dying. Follow the fun at www.kameronhurley.com


Product Description

Review

"A fast-paced thriller full of brutal action and vivid characters ... we’ll be surprised if you find a ballsier and more fun SF novel this year." (SFX)

"God's War is so good" (Alison Flood The Guardian)

"Kameron Hurley's a brave, unflinching, truly original writer with a unique vision - her fiction burns right through your brain and your heart." (Jeff VanderMeer)

"Hurley's world-building is phenomenal... [she] smoothly handles tricky themes such as race, class, religion, and gender without sacrificing action." (Publishers Weekly)

"An aggressively dark, highly original SF-fantasy novel with tight, cutting prose and some of the most inventive world-building I've seen in a while." (Stefan Raets Fantasy Literature.com)

Book Description

An action packed, far future thriller from an exciting new voice in Science Fiction.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nicky Sherry on 5 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
There is some fabulous world-building in this book. Hurley is a master of the art of saying just enough. I was never left confused or bewildered about what was happening, and yet I felt like I was exploring Umayma and learning new things through-out the whole story. The magic/tech system, in which certain people have a hereditary gift for controlling insects or shape-shifting, was inventive and well-used.
At its best this novel reminded me of Le Guin's 'The Dispossessed'. Hurley's planet, Umayma, has several societies with radically different social structures, ranging from a matriarchal society in which men are little more than cannon fodder, to traditional patriarchal societies where women must submit to their husbands, with others are varying stages in between. Hurley compares and contrasts the different social structures pitilessly; each of her characters have been damaged in some way by the restrictions of the society that created them. And yet, this social science speculation is never heavy-handed, it always takes a back seat to the main storyline of the bounty-hunter and her team chasing down their next mark.
The book lost two stars from me because of the heavy noir influence. I'm not a big fan of noir and the heroine Nyxnissa is every bit as much of a self-serving emo as every other noir hero out there (I'm really not a big fan of noir, did I mention?). Although there were elements of humour in the novel, it wasn't enough to alleviate the constant 'grimdark' feel of the novel. I wish that I could have liked the characters more, but, in keeping with the genre, non of them were particularly sympathetic. The ongoing religious dispute between Nyx and Rhys particularly irked me; it wasn't a subtle conversation by any means.
On the whole though, I enjoyed this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The world of Umayma is divided between two warring superpowers, Nasheen and Chenja, and a whole host of neutral nations surrounding them. The nations are divided by religion, each preaching a different version of their holy book split along gender lines. Nyx is a native of Nasheen, a bel dame assassin sent out to do dirty undercover missions too dangerous to entrust to standard law enforcement. When Nyx gets in over her head, she ends up in prison and is eventually released as a free agent, a mercenary for hire. When the Queen of Nasheen gives her a special mission that can set her and her team up for life, Nyx jumps at it...only to find herself trapped behind Chenjan lines unsure of who is the enemy and whom she can trust.

God's War is the opening volume - volley may be a better term - of The Bel Dame Apocrypha. This is an SF take on the New Weird, set on a planet well over 3,000 years in the future where the natives practice different forms of Islam that have evolved from the various present-day versions of the religion, but along very different lines. Nasheen is a matriarchy where women have the power and do everything from ruling to fighting (either on the front or in boxing rings). Chenja is a more conservative and repressive nation where women are kept firmly in the home and not allowed much in the way of freedom.

The New Weird elements creep in the form of technology. For reasons not really explained in this opening volume, the colonists on Umayma does not use traditional power sources. Instead everything from lights to weapons to computer consoles are powered by bugs of varying size and capability. Special types of people, 'magicians', can manipulate these bugs for offensive and defensive purposes, sometimes to devastating effect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
Umayma is a planet like none other – it’s a desert world, fuelled by insects and grubs, scorched by a cancer-burning sun and divided into two by a dirty war of chemical and biological weaponry that has lasted for centuries. The almost entirely female country of Nasheen is committing gender genocide. Its men are sent to the front at 14 years old, inevitably to die, but if they survive to the age of 40 they are allowed to return. Those who flee from the front carry, allegedly, disease and contagion. They are hunted by the Bel Dame, a sisterhood of bounty hunters, whose mission is to collect their heads.

Nyxnissa, or Nyx, is a Bel Dame herself until her little bit of private enterprise sets the sisters against her, along with almost everyone else in the bounty hunting game. In a world where pain and torture have been taken to new levels of refinement – replacement limbs are common (best not to think where they come from) – its safe to say their plans for Nyx are not pleasant. But when Nyx and her gang are hired by the Queen to hunt for one particular missing person, one who might be able to end the war, her chance to redeem herself quickly becomes a scramble for survival that is as dirty and brutal as the planet itself.

God’s War is an extraordinary novel. This is science fiction world building at its finest but what a world! It’s difficult to imagine a more revolting place – the bugs and insects everywhere, some as big as a dog or bigger. People get around in bakkies, pug-powered organic vehicles, lights are lit by glow worms, everything is powered by bugs. The ‘wise’ people of society are bug-controlling magicians while its entertainers are boxers. Not everyone is entirely human – some can shift shapes and those who do, the half-breeds, are prejudiced against.
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