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This novel was originally called ""Star Man's Son"". It was renamed as Daybreak 2250 A.D. in the reprint edition. This book has been out of print for years. It's vintage/rare.
condition: fair. cover is worn
title: DayBreak 2550 AD
author: Andre Norton
The cause of the catastrophe is unknown, but the effect are quite obvious. Much of the population was killed by the immediate effects of nuclear bombs, many others died later from the direct radiation and fallout from those bombs, and many more died from induced radioactivity, plague and starvation. Many plants and animals had been mutated into unrecognizable and deadly forms. Only a few humans survived and many of these were also mutated into Beast Things and other horrible creatures in the ""blue cities"" where radioactivity lingered. A very few survivors, however, received beneficial mutations that improved their chances of survival, but the seemingly normal survivors generally feared and hated any and every mutant.
Fors is the son of Langdon, a Star Man, a far ranging explorer and leader of the Eyrie, and a woman that Langdon had meet down on the plains. Although Langdon was seemingly normal, Fors has inherited white hair from his mother, a mutation viewed with suspicion by the other residents of the Eyrie. While Langdon was alive, he protected Fors from most of the fear and hatred, but then Langdon was killed by Beast Things on an exploration into a far city and the men who find him bring back only a few of his belongings.
After that, Fors was mostly ignored in his efforts to become a Star Man like his father. He has been adopted by Lura, a great hunting cat, and has made his own sword, knive, bow, and arrows as required. His father, a master teacher among the Star Men, had already ensured before his death that Fors knows all that is required. Nevertheless, the Council has passed over him for five years and tomorrow he will have to give up his weapons and become a tiller of the soil. As he ponders his options, Fors conceives a bold plan and immediately starts gathering supplies and equipment, including his father's pouch, for a great journey to search for the lost city in the north that was never bombed and thus is safe for scavengers.
Although Fors has tried to hide them, he has some unusual talents that will help him on his trek: he is able to communicate empathically with Lura and he has much better night vision than most humans. Moreover, he has other, more subtle talents that manifest as he travels.
This story is based on the premise that mankind will come close to destroying itself and this premise is found in many other works by the author. In many respects, it is a reflection of the worldview of the Cold War era, but it persists even in recent SF stories. In most of Norton's tales, this apocalyptic vision was like Pandora's box, in that there was an element of hope among all the horrors of war.
Recommended for Norton fans and anyone who enjoys a mostly optimistic story of the possible future.