Publisher: Open Road
Publishing Date: August 2016 (1977)
Publishers Description: Raised, but never loved, by the barbarian valley people of Jaydugar, a planet of two suns, young Aleytys has always known she did not belong. Abandoned by her space-traveling mother and barely tolerated by a superstitious primitive tribe fearful of divine reprisals, Aleytys is forced to flee for her life following the catastrophic appearance of a fireball in the sky.
Review: As usual, Jo Clayton delivers an epic scifi novel that is built around superb characterization and world building. Aleytys, the offspring from what I would call a rape, as her father the head clan leader buys her mother from a slaver for a bunch of horses. Her mother is an off world alien as are most of the residents on Jaydugar. Before her mother leaves the clan, she shows her alien powers and promises destruction if anything should befall her daughter. Fast forward 16 years and young Aleytys is considered bad luck, and as an omen shoots across the sky, the superstitious people seek to burn her at the stake prompting her to follow a map that her mother left for her.
The character development is great as it rides in consummate fashion with the movement and Aleytys grows into herself as trials rise to the fore while on her quest to find her mother. The disparate communities are thoughtfully done as are the changing landscapes and the endemic wildlife. There is some weird shjt that skirts the edges of believability but doesn’t wander too far off an ingrained story line.
A reboot from the science fiction 70’s, Jo Clayton’s Diadem still delivers decades later and her work will always remain relevant.