While providing a page-turning action novel on a grand scale, Runes of Iona is also an idea-driven work of literature.
Following the traditions of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, the work is set in a dystopian near-future.
The second novel in a planned quartet called The Blessings of Gaia, Runes of Iona continues where the first book, September Snow, left off, but, while continuing the saga, stands alone as a complete work.
Iona, daughter of a rebel, martyred mother and an illustrious scientist, follows the classic hero's journey. Using a female lead adds a refreshing note.
The central dilemma concerns a war-ravaged, environmentally damaged world. Iona's task is nothing less than fighting a corrupt and totalitarian world government with a ragtag force of battle-weary rebels. And the stakes are nothing less than saving our ailing planet from further destruction brought on by environmental recklessness.
Balmanno touches on questions such as the environment, religion and politics, giving satisfied readers both a provocative thinking-person's story and, simultaneously, a thriller. Runes of Iona is a treat to read and savor.
The Year 519 A.G. (After Gaia): Civilization needs a restart.
The Gaia-Domes—technology-rich, oppressive and fanatical—are collapsing. Contending religions and sects roil the planet. Semiliterate primitives, decimated by environmental catastrophe, struggle to comprehend their obscure roots and uncertain prospects.
A brilliant youth, groomed for the task from childhood, is sent by the New Rebels on a 12-year odyssey to uncover archives that will enable him to construct a new alphabet and write the Foundation Document for a postlapsarian world. But can he successfully complete the mission without losing his faith, his principles, or his life?
Drawing on what Joseph Campbell called the monomyth narrative, Embers of the Earth chronicles a future where ecology is destiny, revolutionaries are venerated as goddesses, family secrets have global repercussions, and the reluctant hero is a teller of tales who sparks an underground cultural revival by refusing to tell lies about humankind’s past.