by L. Timmel Duchamp
Stretto, the grand finale of the Marq'ssan Cycle, weaves together the major threads of the Marq'ssan story and encourages readers, as Joan Haran says, "to write beyond the ending." The novel, like the series as a whole, inquires Whose world is it? and shows several possible ways of answering the question through the respective perceptions and perspectives of the novel's five viewpoint characters: Alexandra Sedgewick, heir to the Sedgewick estate; Anne Hawthorne, Security operative; Hazel Bell, subversive activist; Celia Espin, human rights lawyer; and Emily Madden, star pupil of the maverick Marq'ssan, Astrea l Betut san Imu. As always, never predictable, never finished, the consequences of all that has gone before continues to play out.
Praise for Stretto
The final volume in the Marq'ssan series will encourage its readers to
write beyond the ending. There are no gift-wrapped resolutions or easy
redemptions on offer, rather there is a clear-sighted focus on the
always-unfolding consequences-intended and unintended-of personal and
political action taken. This is a series that is deeply invested in social
transformation while resisting any temptation to consolation. As a resolute
utopian, I see this as a hopeful strategy.
Like its predecessors, this is very much a novel of
ideas and personal relations rather than of action or adventure. The author
is more interested in the clash of ideas than in describing pitched battles
in the streets of Washington. If you enjoy books designed to stimulate
thought as well as entertain you, Duchamp's speculations about the forms of
government and the ways in which people in power interact should prove very
It is this awareness of the varying reactions (and not just a simplistic
dichotomy) to such radical changerom government to anarchy (keeping in
mind this is not synonymous with chaos, but merely the complete lack of
government agency and agencies) that imbues the series with such
power. Characters are not merely mouthpieces, but are fully fleshed out and
more importantly, their arguments are fully fleshed out. Duchamp does not
use straw men and women. She challenges her own thoughts and
assumptions. Her novels are the strongest utopias written to date.
the whole review)
Stretto, the fifth and final book in L. Timmel Duchamp's stunning
Marq'ssan Cycle, has just been published by Aqueduct Press. Taken as a
whole, the Marq'ssan Cycle is one of the most ambitious political SF series
to appear in the last twenty years. The novels have received praise from
the likes of Samuel Delany and Cory Doctorow, with Doctorow calling them "a
refreshing read and a rare example of deft political storytelling."
the whole review)
ISBN: 978-1-933500-18-8 (13 digit)