March 12, 2016

The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper

Title:  The Gate to Women's Country
Author:  Sheri S. Tepper
Pages:  315
Genre:  Science Fiction / Dystopia
Publisher:  Bantam, 1989
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis:  Since the flames died three hundred years ago, human civilization has evolved into a dual society:  Women's Country, where walled towns enclose what's left of past civilization, nurtured by women and a few nonviolent men, and the adjacent garrisons where warrior men live -- the lost brothers, sons and lovers of those in Women's Country.

Two societies.  Two competing dreams.  Two ways of life, kept apart by walls stronger than stone.  And yet there is a gate between them...

Review:  This story is set in our future, about 300 years after a worldwide nuclear war destroyed much of the land and most of the creatures and people.  The women have a long-term plan to ensure this never happens again, a program that only the Council of Women and a few trusted advisers know about.

There is so much beauty in this book.  The writing is superb, detailed and believable.  The characters have real depth to them.  However, scratch the surface and you'll find that just underneath the beauty is a dark shadow of deception and betrayal.  The purpose of Women's Country is much more heart-wrenching than it seems, especially to those who are sworn to keep the secrets.

There are no good choices left, in this era where parts of the land are poisonous, cows are extinct, dogs are rare, and luxuries such as medicines and electricity are severely limited.  The few pockets of people who do not live under the jurisdiction of Women's Country live in abject poverty and ignorance.  After the near-extinction of the human race, a few people made what seemed like the best (and hardest) choice to guarantee the continuation of our species.  Now, 300 years later, their ancestors are still waiting to find out if they were right.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

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