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Fallen Host
Lyda Morehouse
Roc Books, 352 pages

Fallen Host
Lyda Morehouse
Lyda Morehouse was born in 1967 in Sacramento, California. Her family moved shortly after to LaCrosse, Wisconsin. In 1985, she attended Augsburg College in the Twin Cities and she settled permanently there. At college, she received BAs in English and History. She teaches cartooning on a semi-regular basis through Eden Prairie Community Education and is employed at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Archangel Protocol is a winner of the Barnes & Noble "Maiden Voyage Award" for science fiction/fantasy novels debuting in 2001. The "Maiden Voyage Award" is a national award, given by the readers of the B&N Explorations Magazine. It comes with a cash prize and a small award ceremony.

Lyda Morehouse Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Fallen Host
SF Site Review: Archangel Protocol

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Greg L. Johnson

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Apocalypse, artificial intelligence, and a street-wise grittiness are the building blocks that form the foundation for Fallen Host, the second novel by Lyda Morehouse. Though not a direct sequel to Archangel Protocol (which recently received Barnes & Noble's Maiden Voyage Award), Fallen Host does feature some of the same characters and does carry on the story begun in the previous novel.

The main character this time is Emmaline McNaughton, an American Catholic priest and Inquisitor, who, charged by the Pope to find out if an AI named Page has a soul, delves right into the world Morningstar, the Adversary, and his plans for the coming end of the world. Emmaline is a something of a renegade among Inquisitors, and she quickly begins to suspect there is more to her assignment than she first believes.

The setting in both Archangel Protocol and Fallen Host is a future where religious fundamentalism has gained power everywhere, most people are hard-wired into the world-wide Link, and cities are haunted by the ruins of a recent war. One of the differences between the two books is that in Archangel Protocol there was a feeling that not only the characters but the very setting itself was dangerous, that unexpected terrors were hidden out there. While Fallen Host is more character-centered, the setting feels more like background and less part of the story. The conflict and tension all come from interactions among the characters, and whether they are in Rome or Tokyo, or virtually on the Link, their surroundings are not that important to them.

Indeed, if Fallen Host has a problem, it is the impression that, instead of offering surprises, Fallen Host is a novel that is comfortably settling into a niche. It is a story that is content to stay within the boundaries set by Archangel Protocol, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that Fallen Host is more likely to appeal to fans of Archangel Protocol looking for more of the same than it is to the reader looking for something new.

Still, Fallen Host is well-written, with a couple of interesting new characters, especially Emmaline and a Japanese cellist named Mai. Michael is gone, but Mouse is back, and so is a willingness on the part of the author to treat religion on global terms, characters are as likely to be Buddhist or Moslem as they are Christian. And if the world created is beginning to seem a little over-familiar, it is still a good story, well told.

Copyright © 2002 Greg L. Johnson

Reviewer Greg L. Johnson has recently been content to stay within the boundaries of his hometown of Minneapolis, without crossing the river to St. Paul, home of Lyda Morehouse. His reviews also appear in The New York Review of Science Fiction.


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