Since the time of pre-history, carpetmakers tie intricate knots to form carpets for the court of the Emperor. These carpets are made from the hairs of wives and daughters; they are so detailed and fragile that each carpetmaker finishes only one single carpet in his entire lifetime.
This art descends from father to son, since the beginning of time itself.
But one day the empire of the God Emperor vanishes, and strangers begin to arrive from the stars to follow the trace of the hair carpets. What these strangers discover is beyond all belief, more than anything they could have ever imagined...
Brought to the attention of Tor Books by Orson Scott Card, this edition of The Carpet Makers contains a special introduction by Orson Scott Card.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Set on a low-tech world where the main industry is the manufacture of carpets of human hair, German SF author Eschbach's first novel forms a grim mosaic of stories of myriad people and cultures trapped in stagnation by one powerful man's petty anger. Intended for the emperor on a distant planet, the carpets are so finely made that each carpet maker can only finish one in his lifetime, working with hairs from the bodies of his wives, who are chosen for the quality and color of their tresses. And so life goes, generation after generation, even after rumors and, finally, ships from the new government arrive with word of the emperor's removal. The new interstellar government learns the emperor secretly maintained thousands of carpet-making planets. Why? Eventually, the reader finds out the answer, though the revelation comes almost as an afterthought. While Eschbach's vignettes do form a fragile whole, the structure lacks urgency or focus. There's bound to be extra publicity because Orson Scott Card, who provides an intro, helped discover the book, but while Card fans will enjoy the large-scale world building and historical detail, they may be disappointed by the lack of real characters or sustained plot.
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The Carpet Makers is one of the top ten most astonishing works I’ve encountered in my long life. The apparent simplicity is merely a lure to its infinite possibilities.