Hundreds of years ago, the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a wormhole and, in the face of alien incursions, destroyed all the technology on their planet, leaving the settlers to fend for themselves. During this time, there has been a standoff between the Nanagadans and the Azteca -- a standoff that has just ended thanks to a tunnel that was carved through the Wicked High mountains.

John deBrun has been given the task of finding a mythical artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, hidden in the frozen wasteland of the north. He washed up on the shore of Nanagada 27 years ago with no memories, but he is the only one who knows the device's secrets.

In this stellar debut novel, Buckell has created an amazing world that combines Caribbean and Aztec culture and religion with long-lost technology and mysterious aliens. The plot is well constructed and the writing is simply superb, particularly the dialogue, which is amazingly beautiful and evokes a people who are clearly from our world but living far, far away. (Feb., 352 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs