The Hierophant’s Daughter
A governess flees for her life in the dark. Around her are vicious dogs. Ahead of her is — at best — a chance of safety. Behind her is her father.
So begins The Hierophant’s Daughter, perhaps the best piece of dystopian literature I’ve read in a long time. The novel is about a desperate race around the world as the governess, Dominia, tries to reach a possible savior to work against her father, the Hierophant. It goes far beyond the usual dystopia, reaching into science fiction to create an unsettling vision of an unlikely future. Humanity has been split in two. Humans remain as we have always known them: a species constantly scrabbling for something better, a walking contradiction. Raised above them by the power of alien technology are the martyrs, undying men, and women whose bodies are ever rewriting themselves to be perpetually at the peak of health. Dominia is one of these martyrs, but she has turned against her father after the death of her wife, disillusioned. She has good reason to be. Humanity is downtrodden, oppressed by the martyrs, and Dominia is one of the few with any sympathy left for the people she once belonged to.
The world of The Hierophant’s Daughter is a strange one—one readers won’t recognize at first. This is true for all science fiction, and like all the better examples of the genre, the world soon becomes understandable, even with the different counting of years. This is a world ruled by a religion at once twisted and fantastical. For the martyrs, taking in flesh and blood is no metaphor, nor is it merely a ritual. They must eat human flesh to replenish the protein which keeps them alive, unless they once weekly drink the blood of the Lamb.
I hardly think it needs to be said that this book is not for the squeamish. The very first chapter begins with terror and ends with mutilation. Horror is sprinkled throughout. However, for those who like their horror with some muscle behind it, rather than just being filled with mindless gore (especially for those like me who are or were Catholic), The Hierophant’s Daughter is thrilling. I was riveted to the pages, unable to look away as the book spiraled toward a wholly unexpected the conclusion. The best part is that this is the first in a series, and I’m eager to read the others as soon as they’re available.
|Page Count||286 pages|
|Publisher||Painted Blind Publishing|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|