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Cover image for Crystal rain
Crystal rain
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 2006.
Physical Description:
351 pages : map ; 25 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Twenty-seven years after washing up on the shores with no memory of his past, John deBrun discovers that he retains an understanding about a mythical artifact and becomes Nanagada's only chance for survival against the fearsome Azteca.


Call Number
Buckell, T.
SCI-FI Buckell, T.

On Order



Long ago, so the stories say, the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a worm's hole in the sky. Looking for a new world to call their own, they brought with them a rich melange of cultures, religions, and dialects from a far-off planet called Earth. Mighty were the old-fathers, with the power to shape the world to their liking---but that was many generations ago, and what was once known has long been lost. Steamboats and gas-filled blimps now traverse the planet, where people once looked up to see great silver cities in the sky.
Like his world, John deBrun has forgotten more than he remembers. Twenty-seven years ago, he washed up onto the shore of Nanagada with no memory of his past. Although he has made a new life for himself among the peaceful islanders, his soul remains haunted by unanswered questions about his own identity.
These mysteries take on new urgency when the fearsome Azteca storm over the Wicked High Mountains in search of fresh blood and hearts to feed their cruel, inhuman gods. Nanagada's only hope lies in a mythical artifact, the "Ma Wi Jung, " said to be hidden somewhere in the frozen north. And only John deBrun knows the device's secrets, even if he can't remember why or how
"Crystal Rain" is the much-anticipated debut novel by one of science fiction's newest and most promising talents."

Author Notes

Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the US, and the British Virgin Islands. He now lives in a small college town in Ohio with his wife, Emily.

Buckell was a first place winner for the Writers of the Future, and has been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Nebula Award. He is also a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop. His title, Envoy, made the IBook Bestseller List in 2017.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

John deBrun, an amnesia victim with a hook instead of a left hand, must save his adopted society on the planet Nanaganda by recovering a lost technological artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, in Buckell's at times overly violent but enjoyable SF debut. John, living happily with his wife and son, has suppressed the memories of everything before his rescue from a watery grave 27 years earlier. When one group of native humans along with alien beings invade John's town, he winds up captured by the planet's other human society, the Azteca, whose culture is based on ritual sacrifice. Ruled by bloodthirsty, genetically engineered aliens called the Teotl, the Azteca have tunneled through the mountain range that separates the two human societies. Only the heroic efforts of John and acquaintances from his murky past can stop the ruthless Azteca. For a first-timer, Buckell handles his interlocking narratives well and his characters retain their humanity (even the slightly alien ones). Unusual for the genre, the many victims of torture and death are evenly divided between males and females. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

John DeBrun lives, mostly peacefully, on Nanagada with his wife, Shanta, and son, Jerome, troubled only by the fact that he remembers nothing of his past. War is brewing, however, with the Azteca preparing to finally cross the Wicked High Mountains in search of new sacrifices for their gods, the teotl. As the mongoose-men, defenders of Nanagada, struggle to hold out, John discovers that what he has forgotten may hold the secret to saving Nanagada. Pepper, clearly one of the mysterious old-fathers--wonder-workers from a distant planet who fought a war that left the land devastated and deprived of functional metal technology--claims to have known John long ago. Haidan, leader of the mongoose-men, and Dihana, prime minister of Capitol City, coerce John into leading an expedition to find Ma Wi Jung, which, according to the Loa--godlike beings who interfere with human affairs--is their only hope for defeating the Azteca. Buckell's first novel conjures a vividly imagined world, spiced with intrigue and adventure that unfolds at a breakneck pace. --Regina Schroeder Copyright 2006 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Since their legendary arrival on Nanagada through a wormhole in the sky, the people have forged a peaceful existence for themselves, although they have forgotten the ancient knowledge of their elders. John deBrun, a castaway who washed up onto Nanagada's shore nearly three decades ago, has no memory of his past with the exception of some odd pieces of information-including the key to operating a powerful artifact hidden in the planet's frozen north. When Azteca warriors cross the High Wicked Mountains to raid for captives to sacrifice to their gods, deBrun offers the only hope for saving his adopted people. Caribbean-born Buckell's debut captures the flavor of Afro-Caribbean culture in the lilting dialog of his characters and in their customs. An original tale with distinctive characters and a fresh approach to worldbuilding, this sf quest belongs in most libraries. Buckell was a first-place winner of the 1999 Writers of the Future contest and was nominated in 2002 for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.