Stylistic period piece. Worth checking out,
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This review is from: Fury (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Earth has been rendered uninhabitable by nuclear war. Humans have fled to live in `Keep's far below the surface of the oceans of Venus since the planet's land masses are covered in jungles inhabited by deadly flora and fauna. The ruling government of this remainder of Humanity is an Oligarchy of immortals, the rest of the race destined to live out normal lifespans.
Against this background is told the story of Sam, the son of Blaze Harker, youngest in a dynasty of a powerful family of immortals. Blaze, however, is borderline insane and, for reasons we need not go into here, has his baby son surgically altered and abandons him to be brought up among the short-lived humans.
The child grows up with the name of Sam Reed, working initially under the tutelage of the Fagin-like Slider.
Meanwhile, the immortal Robin Hale believes that Humanity should be moving out onto the surface of Venus, a policy that the ruling immortals currently oppose.
Sam decides to help, a decision which brings him into conflict with Zachariah Harker, while neither of them are aware of the fact that they are closely related, and from this point on the story is played out with the inevitability of a Shakespeare tragedy.
Stylistically it has that odd juxtaposition of the feudal and the futuristic. For its time the use of drugs and narcotics in a narrative was not standard practice. Addiction features several times, the female surgeon who originally altered Sam's physical appearance for instance was addicted to the lethal embrace of a native life-form which stimulated pure pleasure in her body as it slowly fed on her.
As is common for novels of this period, the concept of genocide (not just a species, but an entire biosphere) is not considered an issue.
For its time, however, it's an original and entertaining piece of work, and one which stands up well to the passage of time.