Being a Green Mother

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Being A Green Mother
Piers Anthony - Being a Green Mother.jpg
Author Piers Anthony
Series Incarnations of Immortality
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
1987-10-12
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 313
ISBN 978-0-345-32222-7
OCLC 16224483
813/.54 19
LC Class PS3551.N73 B43 1987
Preceded by Wielding a Red Sword
Followed by For Love of Evil

Being A Green Mother is a fantasy novel by Piers Anthony. It is the fifth of eight books in the Incarnations of Immortality series.

Plot summary[edit]

It is discovered that young Orb, the Aunt of Luna, has the gift of conjuring natural music that emanates from things in nature. She sets off on a quest for a magical song known as the Llano, a song supposed to be the most beautiful imaginable. During the beginning of her search, she meets and helps a young Gypsy girl who was blind, teaching her song and dance as such most men never see. She also joins up with a circus for a short time, meeting there the man that would later become War, and realising after his unwanted departure that she is pregnant with his child. Upon having his child, she takes the baby, the young Orlene, to her Gypsy friend with the understanding that the woman would find her daughter the best possible home.

Later on, she joins up with a rock and roll band. Her magical singing allows them to lose their drug addictions, and they quest together until she is approached by her mother, Niobe (who had left her office to have her with Pacian, thus effectively making Orb the aunt of Luna as well as her cousin through their fathers), in the guise of Fate. She is told that she has been selected to fill the role of Nature (Gaea), but that a prophecy foretells that she may one day marry Satan.

Satan, attempting to fulfill the prophecy, kidnaps Orb and attempts to use magic to compel Orb to marry him. She frees herself with the help of Natasha, a man who has also been seeking the Llano and has learned much of it. Natasha continues to teach her the Llano as they defend themselves from Satan's attacks. Orb learns that the Llano has the power to control Nature and that she must learn it to assume her position. She also finds herself falling in love with Natasha and decides to marry him.

All is not as it seems, however, as Natasha reveals that he is Satan in disguise ("Natasha" is "Ah, Satan" backwards) and has been attempting to court her according to the terms of an agreement he made with Fate: He will be allowed to court Orb without interference from the other Incarnations, but everything he says to Orb must be a lie, or part of a greater construct of lies, until he proposes marriage, when he must reveal the truth.

Orb rejects Satan's proposal, and demands that he teach her the final part of the Llano, the Song of Chaos, which she needs to become Gaea. He does so, but warns her that it is a powerful weapon and its effects are unpredictable. She sings the Song of Chaos and it results in devastation on a global scale. The previous Incarnation of Nature then tells her that the only thing that he knows that might reverse its effects is the Song of Chaos itself. She tries singing the song three more times, and each time only results in more destruction. The destruction came in the form of the four elements—Fire, Air, Earth, and Water—so if she sings the song a fifth time, it would appear in the form of the fifth element, Void, and erase the Earth from existence, returning all of existence to primeval Chaos. Thus, the Song of Chaos is Gaea's ultimate weapon; it will unmake all of reality, and Heaven, Hell and the mortal universe will return to the fundamental chaos from which they sprang.

Desperate, Orb turns to the other Incarnations for help. Chronos tells her that he can go back in time and stop her from singing the Song of Chaos, but he needs the consent of all the other incarnations to do it. The only one who objects is Satan, who says that he will only give his consent if Orb agrees to marry him. Orb, faced with the impossible choice hinted at in the prophecy, declares "God help me, but I do love Satan" and agrees to the wedding.

Chronos changes the past, and Orb honours her agreement. The wedding takes place in Hell, and Satan puts on a grand ceremony. As their wedding vows, the two each sing a song to the other. Orb sings a section of the Llano (the Song of Evening—also known as the Song of Love) which is meant to evoke romantic love, but Satan, surprising everyone, sings a variation of the hymn Amazing Grace—and vanishes. Singing a song forbidden to him, Satan abdicates as the Incarnation of Evil as a demonstration of his feelings for Orb. Having fallen in love with a good woman, Satan can no longer continue to hold the office of the Incarnation of Evil.

Nature's Accoutrements[edit]

Unlike the other Incarnations, Nature does not appear to have any tools of office. Each Nature is apparently different in how they wield the immense power of the office, but it is always shown as inherent, rather than because of any magical items. Nature simply is. Orb, however, uses the Llano, the ultimate song, to control her magic. It can do everything from allowing her to travel to letting her control the elements to healing the blind or the sick. Nature's power is over all life, and she is referred to several times as the most powerful of the earthly Incarnations (not including God and Satan). Oddly enough, however, she is the only Incarnation who does not appear to be able to stop time.

Method of Transfer[edit]

Nature is unique in its transference in that it is the only Incarnation that does not really transfer. One must qualify to be Gaea, and needs to have near-Incarnation level power already just to assume the office. Once that occurs, they can simply will themselves into being the new Gaea, if the previous Incarnation allows it. Like Fate, the previous Gaea does not go on to the afterlife, but returns to the mortal realm.

Literary significance and reception[edit]

Jackie Cassada in the Library Journal review says that "This conclusion to one of Anthony's most popular series abounds with the author's love for logical conundrums and coy humor."[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cassada, Jackie (1 December 1987). "Being a Green Mother (Book)". Library Journal. 112 (20): 130. ISSN 0363-0277. 

External links[edit]