On the Eve of the Fourth Millennium a slowly-building civilization, struggling out of the rubble of the Drowning, was crushed beneath the scepter of a powerful and repressive Church.
But on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the sound of a magical pipe was heard, and the air was filled with songs of freedom and enlightenment.
And on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the Boy appeared, bringing the gift of sacrilege, a harbinger of the future, heralding the arrival of the White Bird of Dawning.
It is the coming of a New Age...
A glorious future bearing the presents of the past!Pocket 1978 Book Club
Just after a storm at sea 18 years later, a ship's captain found a man, or what was left of him, tied to a floating spar. The man's clothing and split tongue identifed him as a Kinsman—a member of the White Bird cult, now proscribed by the Church—and there were many who would have turned him in for a bounty. But this captain was not greedy; and when, by chance, he detected a faint spark of life still burning, he smuggled the man ashore to the home of a potter, who was also Kin.
The arrival of a half-dead stranger did not take the potter completely by surprise. For his daughter Jane was huesh, and she had had a vision of a tempest and a drowned Kinsman. What she had not foreseen was the man's survival (it was the first time her sight had not been entirely accurate), and she was exhausting herself... pushing her gift to the limit in her attempts to keep him alive—
When suddenly, the probing fingers of her mind found the other! Not the Kinsman, Jane hueshed, but a shadowy presence that seemed to be sharing the Kinsman's existence... a frail whisper—Carver—that would grow stronger in the perilous days ahead....
* * * * *
In the late 20th century, a scientist named Michael Carver was the subject of a revolutionary experiment. He had been given certain neurocompound drugs believed to induce O.O.B.E.'s—out-of-the-body experiences—and now, unexpectedly, he was slipping into a coma. His colleagues were at a loss; their instruments showed intense mental activity, yet Mike could not be roused. A few of them speculated that Carver had succeeded in making some sort of O.O.B. contact. But unless they found a way to break that contact, their guinea pig was going to die!
"Are you hurt, Thomas?"
"I'm past all doctoring, friend," Thomas gasped. "I durst not draw the bolt." He groaned in sudden, wrenching agony. "Ah, Jane, love. Has it come to this after all?"
"No, no," she whispered passionately. "Carver will save you, Thomas. Only let me reach him."
Thomas looked down upon the face that was so dear to him, saw through the fast-gathering shadows that her eyes were aswim with tears and could not find it in his heart to deny her anything. He nodded. "Help me, friends," he muttered. "Lay my head in her lap."
Jane stroked the lank hair back from a forehead already chill with the cold dew of hurrying death and, leaning over him, cried soundlessly into the shadow-filled depths with all the force of her terrified spirit: Help us, Michael! Help us! Do not let him die!Pocket 1978 Book Club
The Boy, Tom, was an extraordinarily gifted piper, having learned the art from Morfedd the Wizard. It was Morfedd who'd made his pipe, and twinned his tongue so that he'd be able to master the pipe's two air ducts. And it was Morfedd who'd instilled in him an unshakeable belief in the prophesied White Bird of Kinship—a belief which Tom's music could evoke in any listener with an open heart.
Unfortunately, in those days, a thousand years after the Drowning, the Church Militant feared the growing influence of the White Bird heresy and sought to stamp it out. So it was that one night, as the Boy piped to an entranced crowd gathered to celebrate the turn of the 30th century, there was... an accident. The Boy was killed—martyred, to the chagrin of Church officicals. And with his death, the legend of the White Bird became a fierce, living hope for mankind.
In the Towering Tradition of A Canticle For Leibowitz