, Oct 1, 2001
- 246 pages
Sutty, an Observer for the interstellar Ekumen, has been assigned to Aka, a world in the grip of a materialistic government. The monolithic Corporation State of Aka has outlawed all old customs and beliefs. Sutty herself, an Earthwoman, has fled from a similar monolithic state - but one controlled by religious fundamentalists.
Unexpectedly she receives permission to leave the modern city where her movements were closely monitored. She travels up the river into the countryside, going from howling loudspeakers to bleating cattle, to seek the remnants of the banned culture of Aka. As she comes to know and love the people she lives with, she begins to learn their unique religion - the Telling. Finally joining them on a trek into the high mountains to one of the last sacred places, she glimpses hope for the reconciliation of the warring ideologies that have filled their lives, and her own, with grief.