Ken Scholes’s Lamentation begins with the eradication of the ancient city of Windwir, home of the Androfrancine monastic-technological order. It leads us in fast-paced, Kevin J. Anderson-esque adventure-focused storytelling through the impact, the fallout, and the maneuvering of the powers around ancient Windwir to fill in the void left behind.
Lamentation looks like fantasy, and its characters used words like “magick” to talk about their extraordinary feats, but this is science fiction in the vein of A Canticle for Leibowitz, leaning towards epic rather than towards literary. This is a future, largely post-technological world, and in the Named Lands the Androfrancines — hated by many, hypocritical in some behaviors — have carried on the torch of learning. Now their capital, and the vast bulk of their order, have been destroyed by their own research; Windwir was blasted by a curse reassembled from fragments by the monks and recited by one of their own mechanical men (that is to say, droids).
But the mechanical man, Isaak, has done so against his will, and apparently as the result of sabotage. So Rudolfo, Lord of the Ninefold Forest Houses, and Lady Jin Li Tam of the Inner Emerald Coast, maneuver against Sethbert, Overseer of the Entrolusian City States, who appears to be to blame, in order to stop him from seizing the Androfrancines’ mantle.
And meanwhile young Nebios, illegitimate son of an Androfrancine who died in the blast, looks for his revenge.