Pawl Paxwax was now Master of the eleven human families who rule the galaxy, and free to marry his loved one, the remarkable Laurel Beltane.
But Pawl's happiness was to be short-lived. The many oppressed alien species who paid dearly for humanity's triumph were about to rise up in bloody retribution - with Pawl as their unwitting instrument.
The Fall Families is the epic sequel to Master of Paxwax, an extraordinary interstellar revenge tragedy played out against an immense and powerfully imagined canvas of the far future.
Phillip Mann (1942 - )
Phillip Mann was born in Yorkshire in 1942. he studied English and Drama at Manchester University and later in California. He worked for the New China News Agency in Beijing for two years, but since 1969 has lived principally in New Zealand, where he held the position of Professor of Drama at Victoria University, Wellington, until he retired in 1998. His first novel, The Eye of the Queen was published in 1982 and was followed by seven others including the 'Story of the Gardener' and 'A Land Fit for Heroes' sequences. He has had many plays and stories broadcast on Radio New Zealand, which also adapted his Gardener novels Master of Paxwax and Fall of the Families.
But beneath the surface of one dead and obscure planet lie the seeds of rebellion. For here, the survivors of the ravaged alien races have taken refuge, to plot their revenge on their barbaric conquerors - and the downfall of the human empire.
One man is chosen to be the instrument of their vengeance - but he doesn't know it. His name Pawl Paxwax. He is second son of the Fifth Family, and this is his story - a magnificent epic of far future intrigue, passion and tragedy.
When legendary linguist Marius Thorndyke visits the bizarre planet of Pe-Ellia, he is inexorably sucked into the local way of life, of sex, of death.
Nearly twice our size, powerful, intelligent, skin-changing yet roughly humanoid, the alien Pe-Ellians are vulnerable - and deadly.
Then, a year later, a distress signal was heard and the Nightingale reappeared. It was damaged in ways that meant its survival in space was a miracle. But of its previous cargo of life-forms there was no sign. Only one creature remained alive within the ship, and that was its captain, Jon Wilberfoss.
Wulfsyarn is the story of the Nightingale, and of Jon Wilberfoss. It is told by Wulf, an autoscribe who has the task of observing Wilberfoss in the aftermath of his return. For the captain of the Nightingale is a condemned man: condemned by the Gentle Order, and self-condemned by a burden of guilt so intense his mind refuses to acknowledge it. Over the long period of Wilberfoss' tortured convalescence in a peaceful monastery garden on the planet Tallin, Wulf watches and waits, recording the mosaic of Wilberfoss' life: his childhood and adolescence, his entry into the Gentle Order, his marriage (to a native Tallin woman), and the great moment when he was chosen as captain of the Nightingale.
But can Wulf bring Wilberfoss to finally face the truth of what happened on the Nightingale's fatal first and last journey?