The Broken God
The Broken God is a science fiction novel by American writer David Zindell, published in 1992. It is the first novel of the trilogy A Requiem for Homo Sapiens. The Broken God is essentially a coming of age tale of youngster named Danlo, but at a much grander scale on a faraway planet in the distant future. Interspersed throughout the novel there is also much philosophical contemplation and musings on subjects ranging from mysticism to linguistics and metaphysics.
Danlo (Danlo wi Soli Ringess) is a human child living among a tribe of Neanderthal like beings living in the mountainous island Kweitkel, on the Planet Icefall. Danlo's tribe is called the Devaki. The Devaki belong to a group of tribes called the Alaloi, who settled on the planet. Seeking a simple life, the Alaloi transformed their genetic makeup to look like Neanderthals at the time of settlement on Icefall.
However, all the Devaki die of a mysterious disease. Only Danlo and another Alaloi called Soli (or Three Fingered Soli) survive the disease. Soli performs the Devaki rite for passing into manhood on Danlo, a mutilation of his penis via circumcision followed by continued mutilation of his member that creates colored strands on it and the choosing of the animal spirit. Danlo chooses Ahira, which is otherwise called the White Thallow. The White Thallow is actually a snowy owl. However, the rite exhausts Soli and he dies. Before his death, Soli tells Danlo about his true father and mother from the Unreal City (Neverness).
Soli informs Danlo that he is actually Danlo's grandfather, Leopold Soli. Danlo's mother, father and Soli were humans on a scientific mission among the Alaloi, who had physically carked (not genetically transformed, but changed through surgery) their bodies to look like the Alaloi. Danlo's Mother, Katherine, was murdered 40 days before Danlo was due to be born. Danlo was cut from her womb, because his mother was accused of being a "satinka" (witch). Danlo's father (Mallory Ringess) fled back to Neverness, returning only once to the Alaloi. Soli stayed among the Devaki. Soli also tells of exploding stars in a region of space called the Vild. He instructs Danlo to travel through the snow-covered land to the city of Neverness, which lies to the east of Kweitkel.
Danlo makes the perilous journey across the ice during the winter - facing snow storms, dwindling supplies and dying sled dogs - and makes it to Neverness. He is frostbitten and hungry, starved and has grown thin to the bones.
On reaching Neverness he starts to look for food and encounters a group of men and women along with an alien, who do not understand Danlo's Alaloi language. He is taken into the house of the alien, a member of the Fravashi race. Neverness is the center of the galactic civilization and is home to many different alien races and the Fravashi are one among them. The Fravashi who took in Danlo is called the Old Father. The Fravashi are a race of intelligent beings who like to think and teach others to think. The Old Father is a teacher and the men and women are his students. They nurse Danlo back to health and cure his frostbite. The Old Father presents Danlo with a Shakuhachi (Japanese end-blown flute). While Danlo regains his strength the Old Father learns how to speak the Alaloi language.