by Sheri S. Tepper

Book Reviews
Grass by Sheri S. Tepper

by Brenda Krekeler

by Sheri S. Tepper

Grass!  The planet of Grass has millions of square miles of thousands of different kinds of grass.  Among the grasses are many different kinds of animals.

The lands in one large region were owned by a group of bon families.  They were the Grassian aristocracy.  When bon preceded their name it indicated they were of the elite, not of the common people.  The bons knew what their parentage was back to when Grass was settled.

Stavenger, Obermun bon Damfel’s estacia was called Klive.  Stavenger was the Master of the Hunt.

Diamante bon Damfels was Stavenger’s youngest daughter.  Diamante was called Dimity or Dim by her siblings.  Emeraude was called Emmy and Amethyst was called Amy.  Sylvan was thirteen years older than Dimity.  He loved her and had cared for her since she was an infant.  Now Sylvan was twenty-eight and he knew his fifteen-year-old sister was not ready for the Hunt.  Syl thought his father was crazy to make any of his children hunt.  Syl was not concerned if his comments and thoughts made him unpopular.

The hounds entered through the Kennel Gate.  The hounds watched the hunters with their “steaming hot-coal eyes.”  Dimity was scared when she saw the hounds.

Rowena Obermum bon Damfels worried about Dimity.  Salla had cared for Rowena’s children and she also knew Dimity wasn’t ready.

Rowena exclaimed to Salla that Stavenger only let her quite riding after she had seven children when she only wanted two.  He made her ride until she was old.  He made all her children like him except for Sylvan who “roars about everything.”

Non-riding members of the aristocracy were meeting.  The second leader at Klive was Stavenger’s younger brother Figor.  Figor had been injured in a hunting accident so he deals with the business while Stavanger is occupied with the Hunt preparations.  Figor was meeting with Eric bon Haunser, Gerald bon Laupmondna and Gustave bon Smaerlok.  They were discussing another letter from Sanctity.  The reason people came to Grass was to get away from Sanctity and now again Sanctity wants to interfere.  Sanctity wants to rule on Grass.  They decided to put the representatives from Sanctity at Opal Hill which is a remote estacia located deep in the grasses.

Diminity was experiencing great pain riding her mount.  She closed her eyes and held on.  She was beyond scared.  She knows the fox will run for hours.  Finally when the fox is eaten by the hounds, Dimity experiences an orgasm as does everyone else on the hunt.  When she returned from the hunt Syl helped her off the horse.  Rowena helped Diminity into a bath.  Rowena was just happy Dimity had returned. Once Diminity told Rowena about the orgasm at the end of the hunt, Rowena was almost relieved to hear the news as that is what her personal experiences had always been.

There are things that call in the grass that makes a silence fall.

In the North, the city of Arbai is in ruins.  It is being studied by the Green Brothers who are penitents about what we do not know.

Other Green Brothers live in a Friary north of the dig.  Maybe they preach to the Hippae or foxen but they are outcasts sent here by Sanctity long before the aristocrats arrived.

Commoner Town is a port.  No grass grows here.  It is surrounded by swamp.  Shipping and hydroponic farms add to the miscellaneous businesses.  Some say the business of Commoner Town is contemptible business.

Ships arrive from Shafne and Semling and Sanctity which is really called Terra, the first home of man.

Beyond Commoner Town is a very wet, very dark swamp.  Most explorers into the swamp never return.  Those that return said it was wet and dark but generally couldn’t remember anything they saw.

The swamp forest acts as a barricade surrounding Commoner Town.  The only way to get into or out of Commons is by flight.  All believe that there is something in the swamp and one day it will appear to them.

Marjorie Westriding Yrarier monitored population growth in Breedertown as head of the Visitation Committee.  With a planetary law of only two living children per Mother, Sanctity prevented contraception and abortion.  So now you have St. Magdalen’s Town a.k.a. Breedertown.  It was established by rich old Catholics for the unfortunate.

Marjorie was an Olympic gold medalist and her husband Rigo thought she wanted to be a saint by sacrificing herself for the poor.  Truth was that she did want more.

Sanctity prevented people from migrating except to Repentance.  Escaping Terra to Repentance was rewarded by a short life span.

Sanctity.  Unity.  Immortality.  Sanctity granted immortality by stealing people’s DNA and storing it.  Once dead, that person will be regenerated not with the same memories and experiences but it would be their clone.

In the heart of Sanctity was the Hierarch.  Hierophants occupied nearly all the apartments.  Machines were above the apartments.  Above the machines were the chapels and above that were the reception rooms.  The higher your living quarters were in this Sanctity structure the lower one’s value.

On the highest floor of the tower is Rillibee Chime.  He tells himself he only has two more years of service to Sanctity.  Rillibee climbs one thousand feet down a chute to clean and repair it.  He climbs up and down it twice a day.

Rigo Yrarier was asked to come see his Uncle Carlos who was now the Hierarch of Sanctity.

Father Sandoval encouraged Rigo to go see his Uncle Carlos.

Uncle Carlos asked Rigo to go on a journey.  A Family Matter.  Carlos wants Rigo to find a cure to the plague that is killing everyone on Terra.  Carlos believes the cure is to be found on Grass.  Rigo was accompanied by Rillibee Chime to the meeting with his Uncle Carlos.  Rillibee identified himself as an acolyte.

The Council of Elders selected the new Hierarch.  It was Cory Strange.  It was Sanctities view point that if they got the cure for the plague they would not give it to the worlds that were not controlled by Sanctity.

Marjorie’s escort on Grass was Obermun Jerril bon Haunser.  He was showing her Opal Hill, the estatia where her family was to live.

bon Haunser explained a period was equal to sixty days.  The natural year on Grass exceeds two thousand days.  Ten periods equals a collect.  Four collects make a year.  They divide each period into four fifteen-day weeks.

Grassians did not care about any of the hundred human-settled planets.

bon Haunser told Marjorie her horses had not been revived yet because they did not know what to do with them.

Marjorie’s Olympic gold medals were in dressage, puissance jumping and endurance events.  Bon Haunser explained the Hippae did not occupy stalls.

Rigo told Marjorie he had hired two Grassian men to help them establish themselves here on Grass.

Rigo, Marjorie, Stella and Anthony inspected the caves where bon Hausen said they could house their horses.  There everyone argued about how unhappy everyone was.  They heard a horrible cry but no one knew what it was.

The horses were awakened from bad nightmares.

Roald Few worked for Rigo.  Roald told Marjorie they would not be lonely if they wintered in Commons.  Also Commons offered feed and housing for their animals.  If calls came for Marjorie or Rigo they would patch them through and none of the bons would know Marjorie & Rigo were not wintering at Opal Hill.

Roald told Marjorie it would be best if she and her family learned the Grassian language.

Rigo’s faithful assistant Andrea Chapelside took the closest guest house.

Father James took the largest cottage to teach the children.

Eugenie Le Fevre took the smallest house.

Roald knew about Rigo’s lady friend.

Roald went home for dinner and his wife, Kinny, had goose and cabbage.  Kinny told him Marthamcy was pregnant and her husband, Alverd Bee was digging a new winter quarter for the child.

Roald told Kinny about the lovely but cool Marjorie and Rigo’s mistress.  Kinny explained that Rigo was too hot and too impatient to woo his wife.  Roald agreed and thought Rigo’s impatience might cause him trouble.

In two days Persun Pollut, the language instructor arrived to teach Marjorie.  Persun came as a carver for Marjorie’s room so no one would know his true purpose.  He told her how lonely the estatias were in the winter.  In Common Town there were thousands of people and thousands of tunnels connecting meeting halls and class rooms.

Persun Pollut is the son of Hime Pollut the woodcarver.  Persun is in a slack season so he is teaching her Grassian.  Persun wanted to make her something special because he really liked her.

Marjorie’s horse was El Dia Octavo.  Rigo’s was Don Quixote.  Tony rode Millefiori.

Marjorie saw silhouettes on the hill and went to investigate but Octavo was trembling in fear.  Soon Marjorie knew there was a reason to be afraid.

The day of the Hunt, bon Hausner escorted Rigo’s family on a balloon ship and they watched.  When they saw the monstrous mounts and hounds they were speechless and afraid.  One foxen, as it turns out is the size of six tigers.

Afterwards Sylvan met the Rigo’s and told them if they were asked to ride, they should say no.

Brother Mainoa spends his life as a Green Brother digging up the buildings and bodies of the buried Arbai city on Grass.  Brother Mainoa was admonished by Elder Brother Noazee for talking to the trees.  Noazee threatened Mainoa with Eldest Brother Jhamless.  Noazee told Mainoa that they had to take care of a recalcitrant acolyte from Sanctity.  The acolyte only had a year to go when he had a fit.  Rillibee Chime.  The tree was purring again after Noazee left.

Commoner's Town was a hub for transshipment and many were rich because of it.  No Commoners talked to the snooty bons about their success.  They kept things separate.

In Commoner Town, Ducky Jones found a beautiful girl walking naked at the port. Ducky nor anyone else, knew who she was or where she was from.  She didn’t talk.  They thought she was from an estatia.  She had strange eyes.  Jelly, Officer James Jellico, told Ducky to take care of it and he would check in on her next time he went to the port. 

Marjorie confessed to Father that Rigo would only devour her.  Rigo would never be gentle with her or just hold her.  He wanted all, all the time.

Stella, Marjorie’s daughter, was a mean child.  She expressed hatred toward Marjorie about everything.

Marjorie rode Don Quixote out to the ridge and saw three Hippae practicing what she had been practicing with her horses.  The Hippae saw her and she saw their expression.  It was of mockery and malice.  She was so frightened and rode home fast.

Jelly told his wife Jandra, who was legless, about Ducky’s girl.  After seeing her picture Jandra announced she had to go see her.  Jelly said her eyes looked like animal eyes, ones with binocular vision.

Migerers dug caves for the Hippae and dug miles of smaller tunnels for themselves.  The Hippae came into the cave and danced leaving a design, a word, an inexorable word, on the floor of the cave.

The horses trusted Marjorie absolutely.  They sensed a presence here on Grass.  They did not know what it was but they sensed it.

Jandra took the girl in and taught her to eat properly and go to the bathroom properly.  Jelly wanted her gone because his lust for her was overwhelming him.

Marjorie talked to Eugenie and learned she was very bored.  Marjorie suggested a pet.  Raul told Eugenie to see Jandra.  Eugenie took the pet girl home.  No one saw her bring it into her house.

Mainoa picked up Rillibee at the port and wanted to help him and get to know him.  Rillibee told Mainoa about his mother and father and sister.  They lived in the desert southwest of the US or Mexico.  His father was a carpenter and his mother a potter.  One day she got sick with grey sores.  The next day she was gone.  A man came to their house and searched it.  Rillibee knew they were real trouble.  The family hid their Mother under the house then she became so ill she couldn’t see the children.  Rillibee’s Father and sister developed the grey sores.  Rillibee went to school and when he returned home their house was empty.  Rillibee was assigned to be an acolyte even though his family was not Sanctity.

Brother Mainoa suggested Rillibee change his name to Brother Lorirai.  Brother Mainoa told Brother Lorirai the scaled people of Arbai city died on all other planets of the plague.  Here on Grass they died of something that tore them apart.  Rillibee decided to be Brother Lorirai and act respectful so he could work in the Arbai City and dig.  For a few weeks he would have to be initiated by being a sky crawler.

Rigo and Marjorie set their party for the third evening after the mounts and hounds did not show up for the hunt.  Everyone wore elaborate ballroom formals.  Eugenie brought her pet which turned out to be Janetta.  There was an angered uproar toward Rigo and Marjorie.  Janetta was one of the girls that had disappeared on the hunt.  Dimity had disappeared recently as well.

Dr. Lees Bergrem from Commons examined Janetta.  Geraldria bon Maukerden would not allow Janetta to go to the hospital in Commons.  It does seem that Janetta will be able to learn again. 

Rigo decided to learn how to ride.  Stella listened to Rigo’s instructor and decided she would also ride.  She had a terrible crush on Sylvan.

Rowena talked to Marjorie and she was so grateful for her information and promised her help to Marjorie at any time.  Sylvan explained or rather Marjorie interpreted that the Hippae do something to their riders.  The riders are obsessed for the ride.

Rigo saw Marjorie with Sylvan and was jealous and told Marjorie he would ride.

Rillibee was set to be initiated and he climbed a high grass-made tower.  There he lost his pursuers in the fog.  The next day a group promised they would protect him from Highbones and the others.  Rillibee decided to live a while longer.

Jhamless Zoe got a letter from Cory Strange, an old friend, telling him he was the new hierarch and that he was coming to Grass to be saved from the plague.  Rigo Yrarier was looking for a cure for the plague.

Brother Mainoa talked to his voice he heard again.  The voice was inquiring about the people and horses at Opal Hill.

Rillibee told Brother Mainoa that he was to accompany Mainoa to Arbai City and arrange a visit of the Yrarier’s to their dig site.

Brother Mainoa and Rillibee escorted Marjorie and Yrarier through the Arbai City.  There they saw the torn apart bodies of the Arbai.  They witnessed carvings of the Arbai with the Hippae.  All the carvings and all the Arbai books explained nothing about the Arbai culture.  They saw pieces of equipment that might be machines.  Marjorie heard voices as she walked through the city.  Rillibee voiced concerns about the plague.  Brother Mainoa and Rillibee told Marjorie and Tony they were assigned to this position by Sanctity.  There was no free choice here.  Marjorie inquired about illnesses on Grass and Brother Mainoa didn’t think there was anything remarkable here.  Marjorie wanted to know how Brother Mainoa knew her name.  He told her a fried of his is interested in Opal Hill and her name came up.  Mainoa smiled vaguely, “During one of our discussions.”

Mainoa showed Rillibee a diary of all occurrences on Grass that he had been keeping.  Mainoa hide it and told Rillibee if he dies to hide the book and keep it safe.

Tony, Marjorie’s son, was upset to hear that the plague was on all planets except Grass.  He learned it had to be kept secret because “Moldies, the nihilists would bring it here.  The Grassians don’t care if other worlds die.  The Grassians don’t want to be disturbed.

Marjorie elaborated on Father Sandoval’s explanation.  She believes there is something psychological, even pathological, that prevents the Grassians from caring about other planets and other humans.  Marjorie has assumed the research responsibility since all Rigo does now is ride.

Stella rode the practice mount each night and when her brain became exhausted her thoughts turned to an obsessive love for Sylvan.

Sylvan had thoughts of love in his mind as well but his love was for Marjorie.

The Hippae thundered and danced loudly that night.  Marjorie asked Persun Pollut to have Sebastian come see her tomorrow.

Stavenger found out Rowena had talked to Marjorie about Janetta.  He beat and dragged Rowena by the hair.  He locked her in a dungeon.  Amy and Emmy, their daughters, followed in shadows.  Amy told Sylvan what happened and he left immediately.

Marjorie took Quixote and went out in the grasses even though Sebastian Mechanic told her not to go.  Don Quixote heard voices that led him to a valley.  There were caves at the valley.  Quixote lay down and Marjorie covered him with grass.  Marjorie saw two Hippae fight.  The loser left.  Then a hound ripped its way out of a peeper.  Then a Hippae ripped its way out of a hound.  They have a three-stage metamorphosis.  Marjorie allowed Quixote to find his way back safely to Opal Hill.  Something friendly guided Quixote back.  Marjorie was overwhelmed by what she had witnessed and the fact that she survived.

A message was waiting for her from Sylvan.  He requested an aircar to take Rowena and two female commuters to Commons Town.  Tony and Marjorie suspected Stavenger must have learned Rowena had visited Marjorie.

Marjorie took Rowena to the hospital in Commer’s Town.  She also told Sylvan about the metamorphosis.

When Marjorie got back home Rigo was enraged and accused her of having affairs.  She had never felt such anger.  She admonished his accusations and walked away from him, maybe forever.

Janetta’s mother Geraldria sent Janetta with her maid.  Her maid was to take Janetta to the hospital.  Once outside the gate, the maid was attacked and Janetta was taken away in an aircar.

The lapse was over and a Hunt was set at von Danfels.  Within a few days the Hunt would move to bon Laupmons’.

Before the Hunt, Marjorie rode back to the caverns.  It was empty except for the dead bats.  She used her GPS and walked around the intricate design the Hippae had danced onto the floor of the cave.  She returned with no incident.

Marjorie dressed beautifully for the Hunt.  Stella joined the Hunt at the last second.  When she returned her father was furious and she saw Sylvan with her mother.  Stella had lost track of time and couldn’t remember the day.

Shoethai retrieved a small package for Fuasoi.  The Plague virus.  Fuasoi was a Moldy.

Brother Mainoa discussed the concept of original sin with the Father as it relates to the foxen.  Hypothetically of course, if the foxen were sentient they now feel guilty about eating the peepers because the peepers eventually become sentient as well.

Marjorie showed Mainoa the symbol she marked in the cave and Mainoa and Rillibee recognized it as the symbols carved in the Arbai City.  Marjorie let Mainoa borrow her recorder so he could show a friend.

While Rigo and Stella went to the Hunt, Sylvan visited Marjorie and told her he loved her.  She told him she needed him as a friend but could not be his lover.

Rigo returned from the Hunt.  Stella did not.

Marjorie got the horses, Mainoa and Rillibee, Father James and Tony and Sylvan.  She packed the horses with supplies and Sylvan told her the last place they saw Stella was at the Darenfeld estatia.  Eleven families were burned out there years ago because they didn’t have the protective grass gardens.

Marjorie’s group was protected by Mainoa.  They were attacked by the Hippae but something in the grass took the advanced Hippae out.  They all made it to the swamp forest.  Mainoa lead them in.

The horses led them into the swamp and, after many miles, to an island.  There the horses ate.  Marjorie prepared food and everyone slept.  Rillibee woke Marjorie at midnight and told her he was going to climb up the trees to find the voices. 

He did not return until later the next day.  He had found the last Arbai City in the top of the forest.  Rillibee took them to this forest.  They left the horses to fed on the island and everyone climbed.  There they found a city fitted with holos of the Arbai.  The Hippae had killed all the Arbai so they decided to live in their summer home until winter killed them.  They made holos to keep the last survivors company.

In the city, Mainao was finally approached by his friend the foxen.  The foxen was large, furry and scaled with large paws.  The foxen’s being flickered into and out of existence.  It told Marjorie that other foxen were looking for Stella.  The foxen said they had many questions.  Mainao was tired.  Rillibee hugged a tree and everyone rested.

Shevlok von Damfels had stolen the Goosegirl Janetta.  He kept her in his room thinking by making love to her she would then know him but there was no change.  Amy came into his room and was shocked to find Janetta.  Shevlok told Amy to take Janetta and Emmy to Commoner’s Town to the hospital.  Stevenger had beaten Emmy in his rage against Marjorie.  Stevenger still did not acknowledge Rowena’s disappearance.  He was in a rage.

Shevlok thought if Janetta stayed with him he might kill her.

Amy yelled at him that all the riders knew what the Hippae did to the vanished girls.  They knew and still they allowed it to happen.

Rigo attended the Hunt at bon Laupmon’s.  Rigo wondered why there were no weapons on the estatias.

When Rigo arrived, Stavenger challenged him announcing  “…that the whore, your wife, has taken away his son Sylvan.”

Each mounted a Hippae and they fought.  Persun Pollut gave Rigo a laser knife and Rigo used it to win the initial battle.

Once the two Hippae were down, Rigo was attacked by a large number of Hippae.  Rigo used the knife and did some real harm.  Rigo became unconscious just as Persun Pollut rescued him in an aircar.

Twelve riders received the full brunt of the Hippae fury.

All twelve riders died.  Most of the deaths were the bon Laupmons.  There was a total of fourteen deaths which included Stavenger bon Damfels and Obermun bon Haunser.  Four Hippae were dead.  After the battle Figor found the laser knife and hide it for him to use in the future.

Persun Pollut had the village and estatia of Opal Hill vacated.  Over one thousand people and all their livestock was transported to Commons.  Persun could not find Eugenie but the hounds did.  Then the Hippae set the village and estatia on fire.  Rigo was taken to the hospital.

Ducky and Saint Teresa found another naked girl at the port.  Dimity.

Marjorie and her group ate dinner and discussed the things they learned from the foxen.  The foxen come from the Hippae.  Another metamorphosis.  Not all the Hippae change to foxen.  When there is a cry heard, that is the metamorphosis and that is when they hunt the new foxen.

Brother Jhamless learned that Rigo might be dead.  Jhamlees did not know how to tell the Hierarch, his old friend Corry that anyone with news about the plague cure might be dead.

Rigo awoke in the hospital and was informed that his house and village had been evacuated by his men.  He dreamed of Marjorie being alone with Sylvan.

Rillibee said the only way to Commons was through the trees, not on the ground.  Mainoa said the foxen knew about the plague but wouldn’t tell.

Marjorie told Sylvan she could never love someone unless they were her friend first.  Sylvan agreed.  Marjorie said first we find my daughter or die trying and then we work to find a cure for the plague.  Perhaps then they could become friends.

Tony and Father James returned with First, Him, the foxen.  They found Stella asleep or unconscious.  The Foxen was to take Marjorie to her.

Mainao was ill and stayed with Father James.

Everyone else climbed onto a foxen and they were carried through the trees.  The foxen would not let them fall.

They found Stella near a pool of water and she screamed when woken.  Only Rillibee could comfort her.

Marjorie sent Rillibee, Tony, Stella and Sylvan to Commons. She said she had to take care of important matters and she was tired of being side-tracked.  She returned to Father James and Mainoa.

Marjorie, while riding the foxen had visions of her dancing with the foxen.  She felt herself being sexually stimulated by the foxen and she refused.  She felt his tongue slide into her crotch.  They were now we.  They came to a door of flame and he invited her in.

When she woke up she was on his chest between his forelegs on his belly fur.  She was embarrassed and wanted to hide her face but he knew her face.  She felt naked yet she was dressed.  “Her mind changed.  Something that had covered it had been stripped away…”

He carried her again and explained there were few females and only a few were capable of reproduction.  He showed her a sterile flower.  He told her he knew about flowers because it was in her mind.  He took all her mind.  He knew her.

Marjorie slept at the house where Father James and Mainoa were.

Rillibee carried Stella all the way to the hospital.  She might never be the same again but they think they can help her.  Tony discovered his father was healing from his injuries in the hospital.

Tony talked to the doctor and she said everyone knew about the plague.

Talking to the doctors, Tony said the foxen believe the disease started on Grass.

Rillibee was exhausted but went back to the foxen who were waiting for him.

Sylvan was very happy to explain how the Hippae kicked dead bats at each other and why.

With the interpretation of the books Mainao found in Arbia City they were able to interpret the symbols the Hippae danced into the cave floor.  Joy – death - outsiders.  Joy – to – kill – strangers.

The Arbai caught the Hippae to read and write and the Hippae killed them.  The Arbai did not believe in anything evil.

Highbones, Long Bridge and Steeplehands came up and informed Mainao he was caste out no longer part of Sanctity.

Mainao said if Fuasoi sent Highbones after him then Fuasoi must be a Moldy.

Rillibee called to Highbones from the trees and Highbones set off to get him.

Marjorie reached for a knife and Steeplehands knocked her over and she fell off the tree.

She blacked out and had a discussion with God.  He told her you can’t be too good like the Arbai.  They were too good.  “Too good is good for nothing.  A chisel has to have an edge, my dear.”

Marjorie let Steeplehands and Long Bridge and the other stay tied up.  She wanted to let the foxen kill them but couldn’t decide.

Rillibee returned and told them all the news of the burnings and deaths.  He told them about Stella’s condition and Rigo’s condition.

The foxen think migerers dug a tunnel under the swamp to Commons and that is how Janetta and Dimity ended up at the port.

The foxen found the tunnel next to where they found Stella covered by grass.

Everyone took their horse and walked through the tunnel.  The tunnel wasn’t tall enough for the Hippae.

They made it through the mucky tunnel.  They found evidence of Janetta and Dimity.  Once out of the tunnel the foxen exited with them and waited.  They took the horses.  Rillibee took the two prisoners to jail.  Marjorie went to the hospital.

Sebastian Mechanic and Asmir took charge of the horses.  Persun Pollut led Marjorie to the hospital.

Brother Mainoa went to the crowd around Rigo to discuss the tunnel.  Persun took Marjorie and Rillibee to see Stella.  Dr. Lees Bergrem told Marjorie the Hippae had done something sexually perverse to her pleasure centers of her brain.

Although Janetta and Dimity’s brains were wiped clean, Stella would be more like a child than like her previous self.

There are a dozen Hippae at the tunnel entrance near Commons now.  Maybe a hundred will be there by tonight.  An aircar verified a hundred or more at the swamp forest entrance.

Jhamlees Zoe talked to Rigo.  Rigo told him a cure was likely on Grass but what it was is unknown.  Zoe left dropping a paper from the new Hierarch.  The paper Zoe dropped read, “ Sanctity won’t spread the cure even if they fine one.”

Marjorie talked to Rigo and she said to use the horses to entice the Hippae from the entrance.

Rigo, Marjorie, Tony, Rowena and Sylvan rode the horses to draw the Hippae away from the tunnel.  They were successful.  The tunnel was then blown up.  Marjorie had a mental conversation with the foxen and told them if they did nothing to help her she would burn their forest.  Finally, the foxen helped.  Sylvan was lost to the Hippae.  Tony was injured.  Persun intercepted them with an air car that held the horses as well.

The Hippae burned the villages and estatias.  Transports worked constantly shuttling people into commons.

Now the Hierarch of Sanctity arrives in a huge war ship with thousands of soldiers.

Dr. Bergrem is finally convinced she is in jeopardy from Sanctity and the Moldies and she goes into hiding continuing her research for a cure to the plague.

Tony is going to leave on Star-Lily carrying the letter in the Hierarch’s own hand stating Sanctity will not spread the cure.

Rigo and Marjorie travel up to Israfel to see the Hierarch who remained behind a transparent partition.

The Hierarch sent his army down and they took over Commons.  The scientists occupied the hospital.

Rillibee said the foxen are gathering and are arguing.  They want to see Marjorie.  She said it would be suspicious if she disappeared and the Hippae might burn the forest.  Father James went to the foxen.  Rillibee also took Stella, Janetta and Dimity.

Near dawn Seraph and armed guards came for Rigo and Marjorie.  The Hierarch also hand Highbones who yelled that Mainoa knew about the plague.  Marjorie said Mainoa thought Fuasoi was a Moldy.  The Hierarch was very distressed that the Moldies were already on Grass.  Rigo and Marjorie were held prisoners in the Port Hotel.

Mainoa called the foxen psychic chameleons.  The Hippae can do it also but not as well.  The foxen are mostly shadows.

Father James talked to Mainoa and he was aware a foxen was giving him pictures that Mainoa would not live much longer.  The foxen was very sad and crying.

The Seraph was treated well by the Commons and offered detection equipment for the tunnels.

Persun and Sebastian installed the listening equipment when they were attacked.  Sebastian was killed by the Hippae.  Persun lost his fingers but was air lifted before he lost his life.

Marjorie left the hotel by herself unnoticed and went to the horses.  He, the foxen was there.  He asked her to join him and she committed herself to him.  All the foxen were fighting and killing the Hippae because the foxen had seen Marjorie love her horses.  She loved others of a different race.  Marjorie told Dr. Bergrem the dead bats were the vector of infection.  One had gone through an Arabai transporter to all of the other Arabai cities on their many planets.

Dr. Bergrem devised a cure and sent it to Semling to be tested and it worked.

Marjorie explained the cure to Rigo and Father Sandoval.  They told her to leave the foxen as they were not recognized by the Church.

Marjorie told them both to go to hell and left them.

Father James told them he was also going back to the forest and that the foxen were intelligent.  Father James told Rigo that Marjorie had said she, “…used to suffer from the Arbai disease.  Terminal conscientiousness.  Scrupulousness of the kind that creates conditions making poverty and illness, then congratulates itself over feeding the poor and caring for the sick.”  Father James and Marjorie stayed on Grass and everyone else went back to Terra.  By staying, things became far more complicated than Marjorie or Father James had initially thought.

Marjorie and Tony remained on Grass.

Years later, Marjorie wrote Rigo and told him she knew Sanctity had fallen apart and the Israfel crew died of the plague on a deserted planet.

The foxen were building fortified cities, laying eggs and growing beautiful gardens.  Rillibee and Stella were lovers and he continued to teach her.  Rillibee and Stella were going to have a baby.  Tony had decided to go back to Terra and Rigo.

Marjorie finished her letter to Rigo.

He, the foxen, Marjorie and some others went through the Arbai transporter not knowing if it worked or where they were going.


Stavenger, Obermun bon Damfel - owner of the estatia Kilive
Dimity - Youngest daughter of Stavenger and Rowena and beloved sister of Sylvan's
Emeraude/Emmy - Demity's Sister
Amethyst/Amy - Dimity's sister
Sylvan bon Damfel - Oldest of the bon Damfel's children
Rowena Obermum - Stavenger's wife and mother to his children
Salla - bon Damfel's nanny
Figor - Stavenger's younger brother injured in a hunting accident, no longer rides, he maintains the family business
Eric bon Hauser - injured, no longer rides, member of the aristocracy
Gerald bon Laupmonda - injured, no longer rides, member of the aristocracy
Gustave bon Smaerlok - injured, no longer rides, member of the aristocracy
Marjorie Westriding Yraier - wife of Rigo, mother of Stella & Anthony/Tony
Rigo Yraier - and his wife Majorie are representatives from Sanctity to Grass with a mission to find a cure for the plague. Rigo is the nephew of Carlos the current and dying Hierarch of Sanctity.
Rillibee Chime - an acolyte of Sanctity
Father Sandoval - Yrarier's priest, travels with the family, tells Marjorie how she should feel about everything
Father James - another family priest who was sympathatic to Marjorie and to the other sentient beings of Grass
Obermun Jerril bon Haunser - introduced Marjorie to Opal Hill
Stella - Marjorie's rebellious daughter
Anthony/Tony - Majrjorie's son
Roald Few - A Commoner employed by Rigo to assist his family in acclimenting to Grass
Andrea Chapelside - Rigo's faithful assistant
Eugenie Le Fevre - Rigo's lady friend
Persun Pollut - hired as a carver with the intent to teach Marjorie the Grassian language
Hime Pollut - Persun's father and wood carver
Brother Mainoa - a Green Brother assigned by Sanctity to dig at the Arbai city and friend to Rillibee
Elder Brother Noazee - Green Brother involved with the Moldies, monitors Brother Mainoa's work
Eldest Brother Jhamless Zoe - Green Brother in charge of Noazee
Ducky Jones - found Janetta at the Port
Officer James Jellico/Jelly - police in Commers Town
Jandra - Jelley's legless wife
Dr. Lees Bergrem - practices in Commoners Town hospital, also a researcher
Cory Strange - Jhamless Zoe's friend and now Sanctity's hierarch
Sabastian Mechanic - one of the Commoners hired by Rigo to help his family
Fuasoi - worked for Sanctity and was a moldy
Shoethai - worked with Fuasoi
Shevlok von Damfels - was engaged to Janetta, after her reappearance he kidnapped her
First, Him, foxen - the one who talked to Mainoa and then became Marjorie's friend
Highbones, Long Bridge & Steeplehands - Rillibee's enemies who worked for Sanctity


Book Reviews
by Brenda Krekeler
As my first Sheri S. Tepper book, Grass was amazing! Her development of a new planet with its unique and very weird characteristics was fun and appealed to my sense of the bizarre. The environmental considerations of the planet were well developed and ultimately every weird thing was explained. In her "mounting" explanations it all fits quite naturally. The characters were strange in their own right however Tepper was able to introduce plenty of good 'ol human personality quirks to make things work seamlessly. Her introduction of another sentient species was done subtly and then when we finally figure out what is going on it hits you like a Mac truck. You are bowled over by the strength and dedication of the main character Marjorie. Initially she appears impish but watch out as she has the power to overwhelm everyone and everything in her path. Justice and honor are hidden qualities in Grass. Yes, you have to look carefully for them as they are covered by deceit and ugliness. Once you have the opportunity to see beyond the arrogance of the humans as well as the beasties, you will discover justice and honor and it will be hard fought to bring them to light. This is one of the most exciting books I have read recently and I am gathering additional Tepper titles from a friend as I write this. I love the way Tepper's mind works and I like it when she keeps me guessing. I can't wait to start building my Sheri S. Tepper book collection!

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