Epic in scope and human in detail, Orion Shall Rise is a grand saga of future humanity struggling back from near-ruin after a planet-wide nuclear war. The survivors face a life-threatening limitation of resources as they strive to rise once again to great heights of civilization.
Orion Shall Rise has a cast of countries: The Domain, dominated by Skyholm—a giant platform floating thirty miles above Europe, savior during destruction but now maintaining a reactionary and repressively stratified society; Northwest Union, a loose-knit network of Scandinavian-style lodges founded by survivors in the Pacific Northwest of North America; the Maurai Federation, descendants of Maori natives from New Zealand who pursue a policy of developing technology to use the natural energy of wind, sun and sea; the many tribes and countries of the Mong who fled Asia over an ice bridge and settled in the middle of North America. Already wars are being fought again, most recently between the Norrmen of the Union, who wish to revive a benign form of nuclear technology and the Maurai, who are unalterably opposed to its use.
There is a cast of characters throughout: Talence lern Ferlay, a noble son of Skyholm who loses his home through treachery; Ronica Birken, Survivor and master of the Northwestern wilderness; Terai Lohannaso, sailor, trader and intelligence man for the Maurai. These and dozens of others—spies, peasants, librarians, minstrels, heroes and villains—show us a complex and strange world as adventure follows adventure until a searing confrontation brings the remnants of mankind once more to the edge of destruction—or the fragile chance for new life for the race.Baen - November 1991
A conspiracy to regain the stars...
The Orion Conspiracy
Nuclear weapons had ravaged the Earth, but Skyholm survived, a huge solar powered station floating thrity kilometers above Europe. Its energy weapons intially aided the return of a low-tech civilization, but later contributed to the rise of a repressive aristocracy. When a rebellion seized Skyholm from a treacherous faction that revered the war as a judgment and cleansing of evil technology from the Earth, a young Skyholm noble escaped to the ground below, searching for allies. He discovered help from an unexpected quarter—a conspiracy to use the power of the atom, outlawed for centuries, to enable humanity to regain its lost heritage of space flight. Its battle cry: Orion Shall Rise
Island in the Sky
From behind the dirigible, the sun cast an almost shadowless radiance. Crystalline, blue-black, the stratosphere made a chalice for the pearl which was Skyholm. Then as the craft drew nigh, that pearl became a moon indeed, a world.
Two full kilometers in diameter; it nonetheless kept an airiness, a grace to rival anything man had ever created. Transparent, the outer skin had a shimmer across it, a ghost of rainbows. Beneath were the interlocking hexagons of slender hollow girders and thin cables, as if the god of the spiders had been everywhere weaving. A hundred meters behind this was a vast ball of night, over which the web went agleam.
Its pattern disappeared at the equator. There homes, meeting places, workshops, laboratories, control centers, all the manifold spaces that humans used were nested among the ribs of Skyholm. Positioned around it were four observation domes, four laser complexes, two missile launchers, two flanges on which—dragonflies at this distance—jetplanes rested, and eight engines belonging to the aerostat itself. Small inspection platforms and banks of solar collectors studded the rest of the sphere.
And this was Skyholm, which men before the Judgment had dreamed of, and built in modules and lifted on wings of helium to assemble in the uppermost air...
"Orion Shall Rise is a big novel of truly Andersonian size, bursting with adventure and memorable characters. This novel of a post-holocaust world alloys wonderful derring-do and hard science, and is tempered with survivalist tricks for a cutting edge of authenitcity." —Dean Ing
"What this book has is range. We see at least four distinct future cultures, their similarities and differences, common interests and antagonisms, through the eyes of strong representative characters. As the interactions develop the protagonists come alive and background details fall into place; Anderson's future world becomes an all-too-credible arena with much at stake. —F.M. Busby, author of The Demu Trilogy
"As Ray Bradbury moved his massive talent from the science fantasy field over to mainstream poetry, Poul Anderson has been taking over the empty space Bradbury left behind. Combining a rich, poetic style with his training as a physicist, Anderson has won most of the awards and honors available from science fiction readers and writers. He now shines at one apex of the science-fictional firmament." —A.E. van Vogt
"Poul Anderson is still the master, and no other writer can see and handle so many dimensions of the human world at once." —Fred Saberhagen, author of the Berserker series.
Poul Anderson is indisputably one of the most important figures in modern science fiction. He has been writing both fantasy and science fiction for more than thirty years and has won seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. Brain Wave, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts and Three Lions, Tau Zero, A Midsummer Tempest and The High Crusade are rightly regarded as classics in the field. He belongs in the company of Heinleinm Clarke, Asimov and Herbert and his latest novel, Orion Shall Rise, is his most ambitious book yet.