In a twilight land, two warring powers -- the Reds and the Blacks -- play out an ancient game of murder and betrayal. Then a Visitor from beyond the sky arrives to play a part in this dark and bloody pageant. From the moment he is found by two women who tend to the dead in the wake of battles, it is clear that the great game is to change at last.
It is the day after tomorrow, and society has been altered dramatically by experimentation that enables scientists to combine the genetic material of different species, mixing DNA of humans with animals. Loren Casaubon is an ethologist drawn into the political and social vortex that results with Leo -- a creature both man and lion -- at its center.
A young man named Rush That Speaks is growing up in a far distant world -- one that only dimly remembers our own age, the wondrous age of the Angels, when men could fly. Now it is the "engine summer of the world," and Rush goes in search of the Saints who can teach him to speak truthfully, and be immortal in the stories he tells. The immortality that awaits him, though, is one he could not have imagined.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Crowley has made a career of being one of the most underrated masters of American fiction. Only one book, "Little, Big," has ever been a modestly big seller. His "Aegypt" tetrology, not yet complete, is a piece of visionary work on an epic scale. His only fault is that the writing is unclassifiable, so it has fallen between every conceivable crack. Bad for sales.
"Engine Summer" is the first of his novels, though the last of the early three to be published. It leaves the others behind as a work of astonishing originality and almost hallucinogenic vision. (Crowley admits that his first draft was written at a time when he was smoking a lot of, well, you know.) In this elegant and beautifully understated work (if it goes a little slowly at first, stick with it: it will sweep you away) the Crowley themes have a true beginning: a world constantly transforming in which the only way that the history of the human as the strangest of races can really be kept alive is through...
The first three novels in one package. The first, "The Deep", is a touch different from Crowley's normal work, but he comes into full form in the second book, "Beasts, and truly flowers in the third, "Engine Summer". The last book is arguably one of Crowley's very best (for which I believe he was predicted to become 'the next Bradbury', a rather unfortunate title for him in my opinion), while the first two are not in the same league. That said, as with all of Crowley's work, The Style and The Meter of the first two are eminently enjoyable. Not to mention the creativity. All three books are very worthwhile and necessry reads for Crowley fans. Like all of Crowley's novels up until the Aegypt series, all three are wondrous self-contained universes when compared with the majority of 'literature' that gets written.
It is about 20 years since I first read "Engine Summer". I don't know what made me buy it, since it's the sort of book which I would not have been likely to pick up even then, when I was in my late teens and read a lot of science fiction. However, I did buy it, and did read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have had fond memories of it ever since. These days, two decades later, I almost never read science fiction, and certainly never read fantasy. But when I saw that "Engine Summer" had been reissued with two other early Crowley novels, I decided to buy it and see if it lived up to my memory of it. It did. "Engine Summer" is still a thoroughly engaging book. It's pastoral, summery feel makes it ideal to read while sitting in the garden, with your feet up, on a warm, sunny day. Next I read "Beasts", which I hadn't previously encountered, and which was something of a disappointment - it read as though it was written to fulfill a...
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