|Author:||Ursula K. Le Guin
Harcourt Children's Books, 2007
|Series:||Annals of the Western Shore: Book 3|
|Sub-Genre Tags:||Soft SF|
|Avg Member Rating:||
Young Gav can remember the page of a book after seeing it once, and, inexplicably, he sometimes “remembers” things that are going to happen in the future. As a loyal slave, he must keep these powers secret, but when a terrible tragedy occurs, Gav, blinded by grief, flees the only world he has ever known. And in what becomes a treacherous journey for freedom, Gav’s greatest test of all is facing his powers so that he can come to understand himself and finally find a true home.
"Don't talk about it," Sallo tells me.
"But what if it's going to happen? Like when I saw the snow?"
"That's why not to talk about it."
My sister puts her arm around me and rocks us sideways, left and right, as we sit on the schoolroom bench. The warmth and the hug and the rocking ease my mind and I rock back against Sallo, bumping her a little. But I can't keep from remembering what I saw, the dreadful excitement of it, and pretty soon I burst out, "But I ought to tell them! It was an invasion! They could warn the soldiers to be ready!"
"And they'd say—when?"
That stumps me. "Well, just ready."
"But what if it doesn't happen for a long time? They'd be angry at you for giving a false alarm. And then if an army did invade the city, they'd want to know how you knew."
"I'd tell them I remembered it!"
"No," Sallo says. "Don't ever tell them about remembering the way you do. They'll say you have a power. And they don't like people to have powers."
"But I don't! Just sometimes I remember things that are going to happen!"
"I know. But Gavir, listen, truly, you mustn't talk about it to anybody. Not anybody but me."
When Sallo says my name in her soft voice, when she says, "Listen, truly," I do truly listen to her. Even though I argue.
"Not even Tib?"
"Not even Tib." Her round, brown face and dark eyes are quiet and serious.
"Because only you and I are Marsh people."
"So was Gammy!"
"It was Gammy that told me what I'm telling you. That Marsh people have powers, and the city people are afraid of them. So we never talk about anything we can do that they can't. It would be dangerous. Really dangerous. Promise, Gav."
She puts up her hand, palm out. I fit my grubby paw against it to make the vow. "I promise," I say as she says, "I hear."
In her other hand she's holding the little Ennu-Mé she wears on a cord around her neck.
She kisses the top of my head and then bumps me so hard I nearly fall off the end of the bench. But I won't laugh; I'm so full of what I remembered, it was so awful and so frightening, I want to talk about it, to tell everybody, to say, "Look out, look out! Soldiers are coming, enemies, with a green flag, setting the city on fire!" I sit swinging my legs, sullen and mournful.
"Tell me about it again," Sallo says. "Tell all the bits you left out."
That's what I need. And I tell her again my memory of the soldiers coming up the street.
Sometimes what I remember has a secret feeling about it, as if it belongs to me, like a gift that I can keep and take out and look at when I'm by myself, like the eagle feather Yaven-dí gave me. The first thing I ever remembered, the place with the reeds and the water, is like that. I've never told anybody about it, not even Sallo. There's nothing to tell; just the silvery-blue water, and reeds in the wind, and sunlight, and a blue hill way off. Lately I have a new remembering: the man in the high room in shadows who turns around and says my name. I haven't told anybody that. I don't need to.
But there's the other kind of remembering, or seeing, or whatever it is, like when I remembered seeing the Father come home from Pagadi, and his horse was lame; only he hadn't come home yet and didn't until next summer, and then he came just as I remembered, on the lame horse. And once I remembered all the streets of the city turning white, and the roofs turning white, and the air full of tiny white birds all whirling and flying downward. I wanted to tell everybody about that, it was so amazing, and I did. Most of them didn't listen. I was only four or five then. But it snowed, later that winter. Everybody ran outside to see the snowfall, a thing that happens in Etra maybe once in a hundred years, so that we children didn't even know what it was called. Gammy asked me, "Is this what you saw? Was it like this?" And I told her and all of them it was just what I'd seen, and she and Tib and Sallo believed me. That must have been when Gammy told Sallo what Sallo had just told me, not to talk about things I remembered that way. Gammy was old and sick then, and she died in the spring after the snowfall.
Since then I'd only had the secret rememberings, until this morning.
I was by myself early in the morning, sweeping the hall outside the nursery rooms, when I began remembering. At first I just remembered looking down a city street and seeing fire leap up from a house roof and hearing shouts. The shouts got louder, and I recognised Long Street, running north from the square behind the Forefathers' Shrine. At the far end of the street smoke was billowing out in big greasy clouds with red flames inside them. People were running past me, all over the square, women and men, most of them running towards the Senate Square, shouting and calling out, but city guards ran by in the other direction with their swords drawn. Then I could see soldiers at the far end of Long Street under a green banner; they had long lances, and the ones on horseback had swords. The guards met with them, and there was deep shouting, and ringing and clashing like a smithy, and the whole crowd of men, a great writhing knot of armor and helmets and bare arms and swords, came closer and closer. A horse broke from it, galloping up the street straight at me, riderless, lathered with white sweat streaked red, blood running from where its eye should be. The horse was screaming. I dodged back from it. And then I was in the hall with a broom in my hand, remembering it. I was still terrified. It was so clear I couldn't forget it at all. I kept seeing it again, and seeing more. I had to tell somebody.
So when Sallo and I went to get the schoolroom ready and were there alone, I told her. And now I told her all over again, and telling it made me remember it again, and I could see and tell it better. Sallo listened intently and shivered when I described the horse.
"What kind of helmets did they have?"
I looked at the memory of the men fighting in the street.
"Black, mostly. One of them had a black crest, like a horse's tail."
"Do you think they were from Osc?"
"They didn't have those long wood shields like the Oscan captives in the parade. It was like all their armor was metal—bronze or iron—it made this huge clanging sound when they were fighting with the guards with swords. I think they came from Morva."
"Who came from Morva, Gav?" said a pleasant voice behind us, and we both jumped like puppets on strings. It was Yaven. Intent on my story, neither of us had heard him, and we had no idea how long he'd been listening. We reverenced him quickly and Sallo said, "Gav was telling me one of his stories, Yaven-dí."
"Sounds like a good one," Yaven said. "Troops from Morva would march with a black-and-white banner, though."
"Who has green?" I asked.
"Casicar." He sat down on the front bench, stretching out his long legs. Yaven Altanter Arca was seventeen, the eldest son of the Father of our House. He was an officer in training of the Etran army, and away on duty much of the time now, but when he was home he came to the schoolroom for lessons just as he used to. We loved having him there because, being grown up, he made us all feel grown up, and because he was always good-natured, and because he knew how to get...
Copyright © 2007 by Ursula K. Le Guin
No images currently exist for this novel. Be the first to submit one!
- Annals of the Western Shore - Ursula K. Le Guin
Cover for GIFTS by Ursula K. Le Guin Cover for Voices, by Ursula K. Le Guin Cover for Powers, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Gifts. PEN/USA award to Gifts. Sept. 4, 2005. The Judges say: "Gifts confirms Ursula Le Guin's ability to invent a country ...
- The SF Site Featured Review: Powers
Powers. Ursula K. Le Guin Ursula K. Le Guin was born in 1929, the daughter of a writer and an anthropologist. She published her first novel, Rocannon's World, in 1966. Her fourth novel, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) won both the Hugo ...
- REVIEW: Gifts, Voices, Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin | Here There Be ...
Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability?with a glance, a gesture, a word?to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a ...
- Strange Horizons Reviews: Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin, reviewed ...
Powers is the third book in Ursula Le Guin's Western Shore series, following Gifts and Voices . I don't know how many books the series will eventually run to, but Le Guin's Earthsea tales might give us some indication: once ...
- Book Review: Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin Array (k)atty at law
powers 09 Powers is the third (and I truly hope not final) book in Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore series, and should be read following Gifts and Voices, in that order. The protagonist is Gavir, a boy who was born in the ...
- bookshelves of doom: Powers -- Ursula K. Le Guin
From Powers: Writing about our life in the House of Arcamand in the City State of Etra, I fall back into it and see it as I saw it then, from inside and from below, with nothing to compare it...
- Ursula K. Le Guin: Still Battling the Powers That Be ? Buzz ...
Ursula K. Le Guin is still battling the status quo. Photo: Marion Wood Kolisch. Author Ursula K. Le Guin says she is in full sympathy with Occupy Oakland protesters who reportedly safeguarded themselves behind shields made ...
- Review: Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin - The Eyrie
Powers is the third book in the Annals of the Western Shore, but more than the previous two books it can be read alone. The connection with the previous books is tenuous until the very end of the book, and while having read ...
- Ursula K. Le Guin's "Powers" leads award finalists | OregonLive.com
Ursula K. Le Guin's novel "Powers" is one of five finalists for the 10th annual 2008 Endeavour Award, given to the best science fiction or fantasy book by a Pacific Northwest author. Le Guin has won the award, which comes ...
- Mumble Herder - 2011 Reading #123: Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin
Thank you so much! I'm impressed that you read it all at one sitting; I'm not sure I've done that, even :-) I hope to do even better with the next one. (Also I hope someone will buy it, but that's another story altogether.) Link | Reply ...
- Android's Dungeon: Nebula Update: Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin
Powers (Annals of the Western Shore, #3) Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin My rating: 4 of 5 stars. Powers won the 2008 Nebula for Best Novel, so I read it as part of my project to read all of the Nebula novels. That puts me at 32 ...
- Ursula K. Le Guin: Still Battling the Powers That Be - David Barr Kirtley
Episode 65 of my science fiction podcast is now up at Wired.com. In this show we interview Ursula K. Le Guin and discuss the life and work of Ray Bradbury with guest geek Rajan Khanna.
- GoddessLibrarian: Powers--Ursula K. Le Guin
Title: Powers Author: Ursula K. Le Guin Pages: 502 p. Publisher: Harcourt ISBN: 9780152057701. This is the third book in the Annals of the Western Shore series. The first was Gifts The second one was Voices and I have ...
- rachelmanija | Powers, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Read-a-thon # 5)
Sponsored by [personal profile] coraa and [profile] ellen_fremendon. This is the third book in Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore trilogy; I read the awesomely depressing Gifts a while back, which did not inspire me to read ...
- Circle of 13: Ursula K. Le Guin: Still Battling the Powers That Be
Ursula K. Le Guin: Terrific. I am proud and happy that a book ? and actually a book printed quite a long time ago now ? is still making some waves and being of some use to people thinking about this stuff. Wired: Did you ...