Veteran author Herbert Lieberman just last year landed on the New York Times best-seller list for Shadow Dancers, which Inside Books heralded as "absolutely brilliant ... a plot that is, to say the least, bone-chilling." Now he returns with his newest and most unusual work to date: Sandman, Sleep.
The time is the year 2070. In the brave new world of molecular biology and genetic coding, the previously unthinkable has become the perfectly commonplace. Scientists have unlocked the key to aging; some have even discovered ways to arrest it. In a twelfth-century French castle, transported stone by stone to the remote vastness of a North American wilderness, Mr. Orville Jones, an elusive billionaire industrialist-cum-amateur scientific tinkerer, has isolated a protein that renews the capacity of aging cells to reproduce themselves almost indefinitely.
But just outside the castle walls in the vast surrounding forests, a degenerate race of fierce, highly inbred, dwarflike creatures known as the Woodsmen have their own agenda. They covet Mr. Jones's biologically superior strain of long-lived offspring and are determined to crossbreed them with their own.
All of these forces exist within an uneasy peace. But the morning that Orville Jones is found dead in his bed with a dart driven through his throat is the signal for the Woodsmen to go into action and for all hell to break loose. Onto the scene steps Colonel Porphyry, Chief Inspector of the mainland's Criminal Investigative Unit - a man unlike any other detective in all the annals of crime literature.
Imagine if Tolkien, the brothers Grimm, H. G. Wells, and Georges Simenon had collaborated on a story about genetics, immortality, and murder. Imagine if Inspector Maigret had come to the Island of Doctor Moreau to solve the riddle of Sleeping Beauty's ageless trance and you have something approaching Sandman, Sleep: a totally original, and unforgettable, novel.
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A hundred years from now, the ritual return and sudden death of a mysterious, absent father lead to troubling questions about his life's work, the Humanus research project, that range far beyond whodunit--in this ambitious, sporadically inspired fantasy/mystery, a real departure for crime-pro Lieberman (Shadow Dancers, 1989, etc.). None of the Jones children immured in the far northern Fraze Institute--slow-witted Cornie, thoughtful Jonathan, petulant Ogden, sharp-tongued Sofi, ardent Letitia, star-crossed Leander, hesitant Cassie--knows what their father looks like, or even (since he's banished mirrors from his transplanted Loire castle) what they themselves look like. All they know is that once a year or so their father returns to interview them individually without revealing his face, then chooses one to take ``into Service'' with him. This time, Leander, the chosen one, vanishes during a family performance of The Tales of Hoffmann--and shortly after, Jones is found murdered. Both Cassie and Jonathan confess to the killing, though it turns out that the father was already dead. So far the story's genre may seem to be clear, especially with the arrival of the Dostoevskian official investigator, Colonel Porphyry. But a frantic note from Cassie takes Jonathan away from Fraze on an abrupt adventure in the brutish world of the neighboring aboriginal Woodsmen, who take him prisoner, put him through unspeakable ritual tortures, and then crown him their king. Meanwhile, back at the castle, Porphyry's search of a file of molding documents reveals that the late Jones wasn't the sprightly 90 he admitted to, but a well-preserved 147--a secret that goes to the heart of his visionary attempt to work with a former Nazi expert on recombinant DNA to prolong life--his own, his children's, and that of the entire species. The mixture of detection and fantasy--the fantasy greatly predominating--makes this somewhat comparable to Akif Pirin‡ci's recent Felidae, though without the imaginative consistency that made Pirin‡ci's book such a tour de force. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
In the year 2070 in a castle at the northernmost point of North America, the progeny of Orville Jones, founder of the Humanus Institute, await his annual visit. Lieberman's ( Shadow Dancer ) startlingly original 11th novel, blending medieval, biomedical and SF elements, is narrated mostly by Jonathan, one of the children whose days are regulated by their uncle Toby, the "magna-mater" Madam Lobkova and tutor Umberto Parelli. Lieberman's inventions--including DNA polymerization and Jones's controlled mating system--recall the nurseries of Huxley's Brave New World , the blood-draining horrors of Anne Rice's vampire tales and the magical elements of Robertson Davies's novels. The apparent murder of Jones during his visit triggers an investigation into the intrigues that govern life at the castle and the surrounding forest, which is inhabitated by elflike trolls known as the Woodsmen. Concluding with a fiery river chase and a luge-like plunge through the castle's water tunnels, this is a highly imaginative, compelling read, an uncompromising look at the chilling possibilities of of a future wrought by genetic engineering.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New item. May have light shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # BK0059393
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312088868
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312088868
Book Description G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1984. hardcover. Book Condition: New. Author Signed Hardcover Book. 1984 NY: G. P. Putnam First edition, first printing, mint, new/unread in a flawless dust jacket, signed by the author. Each dust jacket is protected in an acid-free archival quality acetate cover. signed by author. Bookseller Inventory # LIENIGH01