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Sea of Silver Light
by Tad Williams
ISBN 0886779774 / 9780886779771 / 0-88677-977-4
Publisher Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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With Sea of Silver Light, Tad Williams completes his massive Otherland quartet, one of SF's more intriguing explorations of the eroding boundaries of the human and the nonhuman, the living and the dead. Otherland is a sequence that contains many secrets, and Williams plays fair by unpacking all of them in the final book. A group of adventurers searching for a cure for comatose children find themselves trapped in a sequence of virtual worlds, the only opponents of a conspiracy of the rich to live forever in a dream. Now, they are forced to make an uneasy alliance with their only surviving former enemy against his treacherous sidekick Johnny Wulgaru, a serial killer with a chance to play God forever.
Williams manages a vast cast of emotionally involving characters with considerable panache, but the real strength of the book is its endlessly questing intelligence; it is, among other things, an enquiry into the nature of storytelling as a way for human beings to give structure to their perceptions of the universe around them. It is as story that Sea of Silver Light ultimately works so well--involving us in the grueling descent of a vast mountain, the siege of an underground fortress, gun battles in a nightmare Wild West. Williams never neglects to tell us how things feel. He efficiently ties up every plot strand and convincingly reveals every secret in this large, complex plot. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk [via]