Cover image for The silence in heaven
Title:
The silence in heaven
Author:
Lord-Wolff, Peter.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
384 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780312866754
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Thrown out of heaven thousands of years ago, Tashum and Paladin, two angel brothers, find themselves separated and banished to the earth, but when Tashum rescues some travelers, he realizes from their stories that they have encountered his brother and sets off looking for him.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lord-Wolff's debut, an Information Age version of seraphic mutiny against the Almighty, takes a bloodthirsty stab at justifying fallen angels' perverse ways to humanity. Zapped by universe-shaking lightning around 40,000 B.C. for innocently speaking his mind, the mighty Celestial Tashum lands on Stone Age Bermuda, agonizingly separated from heavenly Light, from his fellow rebels and from his beloved brother Paladin. The telepathic Tashum searches fruitlessly for Paladin across continents and centuries, torn between pity and revulsion for the half-bestial, half-angelic humans who somehow had split heaven. In 1509, Tashum rescues two particularly repulsive specimens, Fanny and Dickey, from a shipwreck, but the life-saving ammoniac ichor from Tashum's angelic veins turns them into free-wheeling vampires. Extended into the contemporary world where Tashum enjoys phenomenal wealth through gambling, the bulk of this confusing exercise in implausibility traces his increasingly campy battles with Fanny, Dickey and their nasty cowboy-toy Victor to win control of the "orbs" Tashum needs to juggle his way back to Paradise. So poor are these characterizations that, by comparison, Lord-Wolff's two-dimensional spectrum of fallen angels, from the saintly to the unspeakable Mayhem, look almost appealing. Nothing, however, can save this novel--the launch of a projected trilogy--from its miseries: characters vanish, then inexplicably resurface; scenes shift without justification or punctuation; plot lines sprawl into pandemonium. Siphoning off the grandeur of his Miltonic inspiration and transfusing it with foggily redundant obscenities, Lord-Wolff denatures evil into sniggering adolescent angst. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Cast down from heaven along with the other fallen angels, Tashum and Paladin plummet to Earth only to find themselves separated from each other. Tashum's search for his lost brother takes on a journey of discovery and temptation that encompasses thousands of years. Lord-Wolff's angels traffic with vampires and kings, fall in love, and search their souls for a salvation that eludes them. With a grace and passion reminiscent of the best of Anne Rice and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, the author depicts the emotions and conflicts of creatures whose origins separate them forever from the humans they were destined to serve. A solid addition to most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One The Fall Deep Space, 40,000 L. PALEOLITHIC. In tiny, fluttering increments the rich backdrop of stars began to waver. As space warped, the bright chips of light moved apart, and the universal fabric of time and space went liquid. Millions of little stretch points appeared across the great sheet of black, stretching, ballooning its flatness. Concentric circles rippled out from the unseen objects trying to burst through from another dimension. Blown by solar wind, they were being pushed into this dimension of physicality.     The dimensional membrane was stretched into millions of very thin fingers, each millions of miles long and growing. The stars themselves seemed to slide down the slopes of these volcano-shaped distortions and then rearrange their relative positions in the new valleys created. The tentacles had stretched the continuum a billion miles before popping through.     A shower of ferocious whiteness exploded into cold, silent space as millions of Celestials created a crystalline sea gushing from the blackness. The winged comets gathered in an inverted cone formation, a spiraling tornado. The swirling storm of white-and-silver flame pushed across the heavens at the speed of light.     Out of the mouth of this furnace, a million beings combusted into the known universe, a fray of tumbling figures, crying out, clawing with desperation. Winged prisoners ripped from their other dimension at savage velocity, thrown into the universe of heat and cold, hard shapes and physical laws. A feverish choir of wailing voices loosed a clamor of piteous, pleading sobs, the sobs of children torn from the arms of their mothers.     At incredible speed, this celestial array shot toward an unseen target, bending light and dark matter, igniting radiation, setting gamma rays aglow, and creating a furrow as hard and black as death. The band of rebels left a ribbon of churned foam crimson particles, and cloud blue debris in their wake.     From the friction, sheets of layered lightning sprayed out before them spitting electric tendrils into the darkness of space. In a red gold arc they plummeted, throwing off spinning white hydrogen and brilliant fingers of orange pink gas sent millions of miles into emptiness.     At the front, leading the fiery host was Tashum. His translucent man-shaped figure, his enormous silver wings twisted in agony, his fingers gripped the features of his noble face, his body stretched and glowed in the particle stream of immense heat and velocity.     "Paladin!" Tashum called. "My brother!"     Paladin turned, his face distorted by the speed of their flight. "Tashum ... why? Why!"     "Hold on," cried the first.     The two locked hands around the other's thick forearms and plummeted in tandem.     The horde of beings pulled a wide corner. They rode inertia on a carpet of lightning, shot past a dead gray moon in a continued fall from grace. And then Tashum saw it--Earth--where he and his brother had just come from.     He let out a howl of despair in the language of thunder, a cry to heaven that resonated throughout the vast stellar reaches of the universe. This wail was answered by his brother celestial, then by thousands of others. Faces cramped by terror swarmed all around him.     Brilliant sheet lightning crackled before them and spread out across the face of the planet, now partly obscured in plumes of white stratified clouds.     Heaven's own light spread through the angelic formation. The amber light shot ahead of the mass and created a glistened curved glass shell, hovering just at the ethereal cusp where Earth air meets outer space, that remote, silent place.     The eyes of the two brothers widened, then closed as they plummeted with the others toward this enormous convex sheet of gold light. Their hands instinctively raised, covering terrified expressions as their bodies crashed through--and Earth watched her sky collapse.     The tremendous sound of shattered and splintered glass filled Tashum's ears as he was engulfed in the explosion. Cascading shards of pointed, razor-sharp light peeled away his tunic and slashed at the thick roots of his wings, amputating them in deft, swift succession. They fell away, spinning and turning, joining thousands of other lifeless wings, tumbling leaves, blossoms of flame extinguished moments after they struck Earth's atmosphere.     Through the lids of his closed eyes he sensed only a fantastic whiteness, and he reeled through concussion after concussion of agony as the shards tore deeper, now at the very layers of his mind and soul. Scenes of his immortal existence spooled out of him in miles and miles of filmy memory. Faces, friends, events, cloudy palaces, and lofty pronouncements streamed out of him and vanished, leaving only an echo of his existence. He had been a vocal leader of the opposition, and now he led the way into damnation.     Emerging from the maelstrom of sparkling, spraying shards, his body went rigid with shock.     Shorn of everything except his celestial brother, he plummeted into the torrential planetary atmosphere. His translucent body--like Paladin's next to him--enriched with color as they fell. His glassy angelic form filled with blood and tissue and organs, his crystal skeleton burdened with flesh, falling ... falling ... falling. Faster and faster, they fell, sucked toward the surface of the planet by gravity's unfamiliar grip.     A thick rolling blackness closed in all around them. The two held tight while fierce blazing forks of lightning split the air. Throughout the cloud, Tashum heard the cries of the others as they, too, fell through this choking darkness. He felt a growing sense of isolation as their voices grew fainter, farther away--they were being split up, scattered across the face of the planet.     A blinding flash. A vein of white gigantic lightning cleft the atmosphere, turning black clouds white. A thunderous crack followed.     And now the other was gone. Suddenly Tashum's hands were both free. A split second later his vision returned, "Paladin!" he screamed. "No, my brother!" For an instant he saw the other through the veiled darkness.     Paladin clutched the place where the lightning had struck him. The terrible blackened wound in his side was smoldering. He grabbed in vain for the chip of crystal rib bone as it spun away. The crippled angel let out an agonized wail as he vanished into the cloud. He was seen no more.     "Brother!" Tashum called out after him.     At that moment, he dropped through the bottom of gray clouds and into the wide open sky he fell. It was predawn in this part of the garden, and her roundness was silhouetted against light gathering off to his right.     Tashum couldn't sort out her identifiable features. He was dazed, and the buffet of wind was maddening. It fluttered against his ears and pressed against his eyes, affording him only tiny glimpses of his destination. Above the falling angel, the round-bottomed clouds were catching a golden hue. The huge sun slipped out around the long curve of the earth, and a scream left his lips as millions of solar rays seared his new flesh a deep blood-red. He was turning and turning now, a carcass over a fire pit. The sun's brilliance raised golden blisters wherever they touched. Sputtering coals of sizzling flesh, tattooed dark, dotted his face and chest, covering his entire new body with snaked patterns.     The scent of his own burning skin swirled all around in an oily vapor and sickened his senses. The sharp acrid stench would be the first earthly smell branded into his memory.     His new weight plunged through a thin protection of billowed clouds--the moisture brought a brief relief. Back into open sky, scrabbling hands, kicking legs, panicked thoughts--he looked downward and saw the scorpion-shaped island capping a vast blue ocean. At great speed it appeared to rise up at him, enlarging in size with each beat of his heart. He could make out a rich green land mass traced in pink sand encircled by glistening waves punctuated by great leaping fish and birds riding the winds.     His would be a water landing. His figure stretched into a dive.     Clenched fists pounded the surface. His body bulleted into the water and sent up a huge plume of spray and foam that hung over the great bay, dissipating at last on the slight sea breeze.     For the longest while the surface water boiled and churned. The bay calmed her waters only to be ruffled when his head breached the surface. His new shoulder-length black hair stuck to his face and covered an eye. Tashum gasped for breath, filled his new lungs, and then felt the brand of the sun on his cheek. He dove under the surface again, deep into the blue-green depths.     He had to escape that awful sun. Each instant its terrible rays touched him, he was seared by an inferno of glowing embers. And so he swam, feeling empty of life, full of pain. He struggled in the deep water and peered forward with his new eyes. Everything looked strange. He held his hands to his face and noticed that the reflective radiant glow of his eyes upon his hands turned them amber and not his native iridescent blue.     He swam through the salt sea and broke the surface only as necessary to correct his bearing. He fought through undersea forests of kelp and veered with uncertainty amid clouds of darting fish, until he found himself following the incline of rippling pink sands. Through the distortion of shallow water, he could see the edges of the island, a skyline with curved trees and a tangle of undergrowth.     The wave force of a high tide delivered him onshore. Trying to grasp physical balance he rolled in the surf, purging his lungs, spitting up sand and seawater. His body shivered with sun shock. He stumbled and scrambled across the blinding pink beach, scattering a group of birdlike reptiles that waddled away from him on scaly hind feet. He dove through vines and underbrush and took shelter beneath the first damp outcropping of coral rock he could find.     Here in the dark ambient light, he laid back. Within seconds, he felt the pain crying out from scorched nerve endings. Every square inch of his awful flesh was inflamed. The humiliation of earthly pain torched his soul, and beneath his skin new muscles felt stretched and torn. Confined by gravity, every movement with unfamiliar arms was forced and awkward. But nothing was as harsh as the sting of singed flesh. It didn't come in waves. It was constant, and he craved the cool of darkness.     He thought of the female lion's agonizing roar when birthing the cub. Did all new life enter this forsaken place through such a wall of pain? Of course it is painful. This was not a new revelation, but the experience, the physical sensation, was new to him.     The blisters and tattoos continued to sear. In a delirium of anguish and confusion he called out for his lost brothers. The name Paladin passed through lips swollen and cracked.     He climbed deeper into the rock formation, where he fell into a pool of still water. He saw his reflection and wanted to scream. There was little vestige of his previous self. Indeed his eyes were those of the owl: enlarged and dilated, yellow, no longer blue. To make it go away he slapped the water with the back of his hand, but the image only fragmented. Swathed in agony, he sank into the pool and curled his body into a tight knot. The water absorbed his shuddering cries. "Paladin! What has happened to us?"     He who had once lived beyond the stars, who had commanded a legion of angels, was now banished to this wet rock crevice. This small planet, a garden to visit, a place of unique creatures viewed from the other side of the light, was now his god-awful prison.     Tashum argued this difference from the very center of himself. Such injustice--and what force could effect such unimaginable, undeniable punishment? He held his raw, burned fingers up to his face, moving them knuckle by knuckle, observing the movement of bone and tendon underneath tight strips of skin. The angel examined his fingernails--the claws of a wild beast. These were not the hands that had wielded thunderbolts, had wrestled with powers that for all he knew probably stood against him. And for what reason? He had but only spoken his mind, let his feelings be known to those whom he cherished above all others. Was he guilty of pride? How could such damnation come to pass through such innocence?     This was a strange land. He was now defenseless against even this sun, which had been such a dull thing viewed from the invisible world. All his abilities were shorn from him, ripped out of the angelic sphere by a merciless force. And why? he asked again. He was indeed intolerant of these new humans and their needs, but he had also been given free will. The Voice had given him free will with no mention of such consequence. For days, he lay in this narrow cave, waiting for some semblance of strength to return, calling out for heavenly assistance, pleading with the Voice in the Light for rescue. Shouting, sobbing, beseeching, raving inarticulately in a childish fever of abandonment and complete disorientation, his ragged pleas grew weaker and less sure, trailing away at last into a whimper.     No voice answered his cries. No rescue came. There was only silence from heaven, cold, crushing emptiness was his sole shadow companion.     Over time his burns healed in the darkness, resolving themselves into deeply rooted black scars of intricate occult graffiti. He was undeniably tattooed with the mark of the fall from grace. Manual dexterity improved as he mastered gravity and learned his physical limitations. Throughout this period of adjustment his emotions remained ragged and hadn't shown any sign of improvement. He longed to go home; he was consumed by the need.     Were the others of his kind as scarred and uncertain, filled with the same longing and the same questions of their earthly existence? Would they even remember who they were to each other, to themselves after such grief?.     For hours each day, Tashum would labor to remind himself of the fall, going over the details of it again and again. For he noted his celestial memories were already slipping away. To keep them alive he drew faces in the mud and inscribed angelic symbols with his finger. He was determined not to let his memories of earthly experience crowd out from his mind his celestial existence.     So much uncertainty in all of this--but he had to retain these last particles of his identity--these images he saw in pale serpentine visions, images that would float past as silvery particle fish on the surface of unreliable inner eyes.     Other developments rose up before him on the same dreamy canvas, though where they occurred in the stream of time, he could not know.     All around him on this island, he sensed an emergence of life--not just plant life or swimming lizards, but the very creature with primitive angelic aspects that had split heaven--beings with the bodies of animals and empty slated souls, tiny guttering spirit-flames that would take centuries to blossom into any kind of true essence. The dawn of modern man was being measured by a simple speech mutation and not a spiritual tone. It was too hurtful a concept but terribly real.     He sat up in the darkness. The long argument rolled through him, carefully wrought from the intricate rhetoric of heaven. This argument had resolved in his banishment, and the loss of his brother. Transduced through waves of tormented remembrance the overall injustice rang louder. He was a Celestial, an angel of the light. And as such he deserved something more. Copyright © 2000 Peter Lord-Wolff. All rights reserved.