This is an enthralling post-apocalyptic tale. Set 300 years after a nuclear war, this tells of the society that has been built in the ruins of the old world. Various small walled cities enclose what's left of pre-convulsion knowledge that is nurtured and governed by women, meanwhile outside the cities walls, the men live in garrisons dedicated to the warrior life. The two societies don't always co-exist easily and the two ways of life can breed friction and dissent.
When Stavia is a child of 10, she meets the 13 year old trainee warrior Chernon for the first time. She is unaware that this meeting will shape her destiny for the next 26 years. As she grows up Stavia begins to question the divisions between her and Chernon's societies, this leads her and Chernon a fateful journey that will determine the course of both their lives and reveal the price that keeping civilization alive demands.
This a wonderful read, the world building is so disturbing. The characters talk of ice, desolations and devastations. There are causal mentions of seeing the remnants of ruined cities but all knowledge of what the cities were called and why the war happened is lost. This is a bleak world, scarred by the nuclear holocaust and with so much knowledge lost and so much of the ecosystem destroyed, the fight to keep what is left of civilization alive is hard. Stavia will learn the cost of maintaining her society and if she is willing to pay it.
This is a wonderful, thought provoking book.