The Fire Sermon

The Fire Sermon

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
4
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"Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fall-out has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha--physically perfect in every way--and the other an Omega--burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world's sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Gallery Books, 2015
Edition: First Gallery Books hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476767185
1476767181
9781476767246
Branch Call Number: SF HAIG FRANCES
Characteristics: 370 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Fire sermon

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ElspethG
Mar 19, 2017

This book reminds me a great deal of the John Wyndham book "The Chrysalids." Much the same scenario. It's hundreds of years since WWIII (or similar event). There are those who are termed normal if they fit the definition of a human being. If they are abnormal, with say 6 toes, or 3 arms, or legs that are too long, well they are exiled to land which they can barely live on. In the Chrysalids, there are people who seem to be normal, but have mental powers (telepathy, have visions, and the like), and they need to be caught. In the Chrysalids, rescue comes from New Zealand. In the Fire Sermon, there is the chase, and what was thought to be a refuge, sort of. This novel has focussed on the Omegas, the "damaged" people, particularly on Cass and the man she rescued, Kip. I'm hoping that we'll learn more about Cass's brother and about the Alphas in the next book.

The author, Francesca Haig, has done a great job in giving new life to John Wyndham's novel. The characters are more fleshed out, as is the plot. She does give homage to Wyndham by naming a city after him. The city she grew up in, Hobart Tasmania, is used as the name for a city in this novel. I'm curious about what little references to her own life or the Chyrsalids and John Wyndham.

j
JRP65
Mar 11, 2017

I agree wholeheartedly with the Apr 19, 2015 comment from joanalang! :^D

forbesrachel May 24, 2015

In the After, all children are born as twins, always one female and one male, with one of them deformed. The perfectly healthy child gets dubbed an Alpha, while the other is branded an Omega, to be segregated, reviled, and the scapegoat for all that is wrong with the world. Only one thing saves them from execution, a life link to their twin; what one suffers, so does the other, including death. Most Omega's have a physical difference, whether it is a missing limb or a mutation, Cass is one of the few who doesn't, she is a seer. By staying with her brother Zach longer than most, she may have brought about unfortunate consequences, for Zach's paranoia and anger forges him into a driven man. The Reformer would see all Omega's under complete supervision and he has an Omega seer called the Confessor to help him. The story is told mostly from the point of view of Omega's, and yet we never see the Alpha's as the bad guys, just misguided. In a world that splits itself into "us" and "them", Cass is the only one that sees they are all the same. She understands that Omega's can't keep hiding, and Alpha's can't keep on living in fear. How do you change the mindset of people though, when both sides point their finger at each other, especially when this attitude stems from sibling quarrels? This question plagues Cass. Haig is one of those authors that just has a way with words, although she can be a bit repetitive. She is poetically descriptive at times, yet at others, she is so subtle that all we have is a feeling that something more is going on. Some of these suspicions are left for other volumes to answer. In either case, The Fire Sermon has a spellbinding effect on us. The circumstances may be complex, but at its heart it is as simple as the relationship between a sister and brother.

j
joanalang
Apr 19, 2015

A very absorbing read.
Character development is good, the plot intriguing, the dynamics between Cass and her twin Zach many-layered and believable. And the writing is excellent.

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