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Hand of Prophecy Hardcover – 31 Dec 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Ex-library/spine Lean edition (31 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380976390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380976393
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,896,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Abandoned in a destructive world where slaves are made to fight for their masters' amusement, Frenna is forced to become a medic at these games, until she launches a fight for the freedom of her fellow slaves.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the second of her books that I've read -- perhaps there are only two. The first, "Speaking Dreams" I think is the name, takes place in the same universe and may even share a minor character. It is not necessary to read them in order, though having the first as background was surely helpful.
I liked this book more than the first. It seemed tighter, less grim, and I thought it had more appealing characters. It was a real page-turner and adrenaline-rusher, with a complex enough story to keep me from figuring out how it would come out. And the characters were believable, the dialogue reasonable -- in short, nothing got in the way of a very nice read.
One basic premise of the story is that slavery is somehow an accepted part of this future civilization, which otherwise is not too different from ours. There's a people that "developed" slavery with some genetic and biological aspects such as a virus that keeps a person from aging and enhances healing for twenty years, then kills the host when the virus runs out of steam. The slavers are now the pariahs, but the general structure of slavery remains, with a lottery feeding the slave population. This was a really scary idea: anyone in their late teens was eligible to be "selected", that is, turned into a slave and stripped of their rights and previous life, treated as property for twenty years, then to die a horrible death.
The other basic premise of the story is that there's a "cure" for the slave virus. This story follows various characters as the word gets out about this cure. It's easy to imagine a subsequent novel exploring the social consequences of this cure, and I'd love to see it.
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By A Customer on 25 Aug. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Wow! Space travel, fight-to-the-death slaves, viral servitude, high tech in a third-world-like atmosphere, and incredibly strong characters make this book an outstanding read. The back of the book claims the author is like Samuel R. Delaney and Ursula Le Guin and while the notions of gender and love are similar, Ms. Park is a much, much better writer. The book speeds to conclusion so that I neglected reading several of my students' theses to get to the end! I am going to read more by this wonderful author!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 May 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have both books, was entranced by both,have recommended them to many friends. Are there anymore?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 July 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have read both of Park's books and I loved them both. Hand of Prophecy was a real page turner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Others have tackled this subject better, but worth reading 19 Jun. 2000
By Julia Walter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Maybe.
Other reviewers have given the gist of the plot, but I don't agree with their ratings, that's why I review this book. LeGuin in Four Ways of Forgiveness has written better about slavery and how it destroys the owned and owners.
Octavia Butler in The Kindred writes better about the sexual relationship in slavery between owned and owner. In that book there are outsiders who make it easier for us to empathize.
Many of Samuel R. Delaney's books are about unequal sexual relationships. I prefer his too.
I liked Hallie in this book, but Frenna was too distant, too strange, ultimately an unsatisfying hero, for me. Troah was too too scary to also be sympathetic, as I think she was supposed to be, eventually.
In my opinion, it is worth reading, if you don't expect too much from it. And you've read the others first.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I recommend this, liked it even better than Speaking Dreams. 23 Nov. 1998
By jkrauel@actioneer.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the second of her books that I've read -- perhaps there are only two. The first, "Speaking Dreams" I think is the name, takes place in the same universe and may even share a minor character. It is not necessary to read them in order, though having the first as background was surely helpful.
I liked this book more than the first. It seemed tighter, less grim, and I thought it had more appealing characters. It was a real page-turner and adrenaline-rusher, with a complex enough story to keep me from figuring out how it would come out. And the characters were believable, the dialogue reasonable -- in short, nothing got in the way of a very nice read.
One basic premise of the story is that slavery is somehow an accepted part of this future civilization, which otherwise is not too different from ours. There's a people that "developed" slavery with some genetic and biological aspects such as a virus that keeps a person from aging and enhances healing for twenty years, then kills the host when the virus runs out of steam. The slavers are now the pariahs, but the general structure of slavery remains, with a lottery feeding the slave population. This was a really scary idea: anyone in their late teens was eligible to be "selected", that is, turned into a slave and stripped of their rights and previous life, treated as property for twenty years, then to die a horrible death.
The other basic premise of the story is that there's a "cure" for the slave virus. This story follows various characters as the word gets out about this cure. It's easy to imagine a subsequent novel exploring the social consequences of this cure, and I'd love to see it.
This is kind of frustrating because all this says nothing really about the story or characters. There's a runaway slave who learns a lot about herself, her people, and her relationship with the slaver peoples over the course of the story. There's a fascinating description of a troupe of gladiator slaves, including the warrior Hallie who was my favorite. And there's the prophet herself, a very intriguing character. Tons of interesting, strong, complex, believable female characters. I recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
'Blade Runner' meets 'Spartacus' only 10 times better.. 3 Jun. 2000
By "tazzy26" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book on the strength of its blurb alone, yet what the book contained blew all parameters of my expectations into orbit. I doubt if i've read a book that weaves the genres of sc-fi and action/romance/historical together so well.
Park's gender reversal (her trademark) gives light to some wonderful female characters; from Troah who is determined to exact her revenge on those who have betrayed her, to Hallie the blonde Amazonian warrior whose armour is as strong as her compassion (I've never been so worried over a character's survival when Hallie's fighting Rampage) and onto the protagonist herself Frenna who looks so fragile it seems she will break at any second but shows more determination than anyone else in the story. The whole slavery angle was addressed perfectly and leaves a thousand oppotunities for sequels or follow on stories.
Most importantly the whole love side of the novel was delivered in a way saying: 'it doesn't matter who you love as long as they love you'. We can see how that backfires for Althea and Leiban, and how despite the loyalty the boundaries of 'slave' and 'free' still dominate the lives of the characters in the book. This is good route on Severna's part because it stops love obstructing the slave/non-slave relationship and prevents a novel that balances passion with survival from turning into a 'love conquers all' romantic epic. Basically, this is one of the better books I've read this year and probably THE best sc-fi book I've ever read. Severna Park manages to combine strong characters, painful anticipation and occasionally obtuse humour to create a book that this reader won't be forgetting in a hurry.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding transplanetary read! 25 Aug. 1998
By Michael Zyda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wow! Space travel, fight-to-the-death slaves, viral servitude, high tech in a third-world-like atmosphere, and incredibly strong characters make this book an outstanding read. The back of the book claims the author is like Samuel R. Delaney and Ursula Le Guin and while the notions of gender and love are similar, Ms. Park is a much, much better writer. The book speeds to conclusion so that I neglected reading several of my students' theses to get to the end! I am going to read more by this wonderful author!
Good Sequal 26 Feb. 2008
By James D Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a daunting task to follow up the terrific Speaking Dreams and Severna did an admirable job. The story and characters are well devolped and the book is light on science fiction as usual. The book does a good job of going in a different direction than the first and is a must read if you enjoy Ms. Park's work.
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