Synopses & Reviews
The River flowed through all the land, deep and unstoppable, a god in his own right. His head was in the mountains; his arms embraced the outlands; his body lay at the core of all the civilized realms; and his legs stretched on to the distant sea. Dark and sluggish, he rolled unchallenged, dreaming his own invincible might and glory into stark reality.
Everywhere he touched, the River God held dominion. And in Nhol, the fabled city at the heart of the world, an emperor ruled as the living aspect of the god, presiding over the splendors and intrigues of a prosperous land and a glittering court.
Hezhi was an imperial princess; her blood carried the seeds of the River's power. When her favorite cousin disappeared, Hezhi searched throughout the sumptuous palace with its ghosts and priests, giants and courtiers, and frightening creatures of wizardry. And the magic within her began to grow; soon it must attract dangerous attention. Hezhi's anxious quest ripened into a desperate fight for her own life--a battle she could not hope to win alone.
Small wonder that the princess wished for a hero.
And far away, a hero's journey began...
About the Author
When J. Gregory Keyes was a small boy, his father's job took his family to live on an Arizona Navajo reservation; he quickly became bilingual. At four years old he didn't find it difficult to learn another language, and Navajo became as much a part of him as English. Keyes's early experience in the Navajo culture was the beginning of a lifelong fascination with linguistics, rituals, myths, and legends. It wasn't only the Navajo reservation that had an impact on his imagination; equally important were the long evenings his extended family ( some of Choctaw ancestry ) spent spinning stories. These early experiences produced in him an emotional connection to other worlds that indelibly marked Keyes's memory and his impressionable soul, a connection that now culminates in the thirty-two-year-old author's first fantasy novel, The Waterborn.
To Greg, writing has always been the window through which his imagination is released. "The written word has been compelling to me since before I could read; my mother used to read to me, but it was when I realized that I myself could see stories in the ink of a book that I wanted to create such stories myself," Keyes said.
Years later, after Keyes had married Nell (a maker of jewelry whom he supported while she got her degree in metalworking), he began writing (not fiction, but a retelling of Southeastern Indian myths and legends produced in the hours after he returned from his mindless day job. Soon he earned an M.A. in anthropology at the University of Georgia at Athens and began teaching. His research expanded from the usual journals of eighteenth-century travelers and Franciscan monks, of killers and of scholars, to global folklore and mythology. Much of the material he read was unusable for his class, but the stored it away until it blossomed into a rich landscape on which he has painted his fabulous stories.
The Waterborn evolved from a world history class Keyes took as an undergraduate. The class discussion centered on civilizations, like Egypt and Mesopotamia, that arose from the organizational demands created by flood control and irrigation. Keyes's imagination began to race, until he was obsessed by a vision of a city upon a river that was actually, rather than metaphorically, alive. This city, as he dreamed it, had a dominating or even vaguely malevolent relationship with its "children." He held this powerful glimpse in this head for over twelve years until it forced itself onto the page and became The Waterborn.
In many fantasies, there is a circular movement to the stories. And Greg Keyes's life has imitated the genre in which he has chosen to write. At nine years old he read his first real science fiction book, Moon of Mutiny by Lester del Rey, in the shade of a hogan on the Navajo Indian reservation. From that first step he set out on what was to be his life's path. It is with no small amount of awe that he welcomes the publication by Del Rey Books of the first book of his trilogy. "The fabric of my world was woven from imagination. In my work, opposites attract. Between these two contradictory places a story sprang up and characters whom I could scarcely control were born to populate it." And this is just the beginning...