In the tradition of other scifi authors who create an entire "history of the future", like Larry Niven's Known Space, Herbert's Dune, Asimov's Empire and Foundation, and Heinlein's Future History, F. Paul Wilson creates a timeline one thousand years long, interweaving two main movements -- one which follows a single man, Steven Dart, and one which follows a single ideology, the LaNague Federation.
This book is actually the incorporation of two novels with several short stories, set in the same timeline (and presented in chronological order, similar to Heinlein's The Past Through Tomorrow). An Enemy of the State, which you can find as a standalone novel in used book stores, tells of the bloodless, economic revolution which brought about the LaNague Federation. Wheels Within Wheels tells of a ruthless revolt =against= the LaNague Federation, to dismantle its protection of free trade and freedom from taxes.
The short story series centers around Steven Dart, aka The Healer, a man who finds himself become potentially immortal through a chance encounter with an alien which takes up residence in his body with him. He is little touched by the politics and economics of the LaNague Federation - he is interested in pursuing ideas and extending knowledge. He finds there is something else out there which threatens humanity's existence. A strange disease called "the horrors" strikes people at random, turning normal people into terrified catatonics; Steven finds that his alien symbiote can help him destroy this disease, individual by individual, but later he comes up against the source of this plague itself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - Wilson draws you on, leaving questions open, forcing you to read further so that you can find out how things develop. If you like the idea of building a universe and exhaustively playing around in it, this book is for you.
Back to Reviews pageMary Pat Campbell, last updated June 2001