AFTER THE FALL
Down the long centuries after the Flame Deluge scoured the earth clean, the monks of the Order of St. Leibowitz the Engineer kept alive the ancient knowledge. In their monastery in the Utah desert, they preserved the precious relics of their founder: the blessed blueprint, the scared shopping list and the holy shrine of Fallout Shelter.
Watched over by an immortal wanderer, they witnessed humanity's rebirth from the ashes, and saw reenacted the eternal drama of the struggle between light and darkness, life and death.Lippincott
A Canticle for Leibowitz chronicles the slow and painful recovery of human civilization from near annihilation by thermonuclear war.
Isaac Edward Leibowitz, an obscure scientist, saw the destruction of his world in the Flame Deluge. Until his martyrdom at the hands of a crazed, book burning mob, he had dedicated his life to the recovery and preservation of "pre-deludge" knowledge. Eventually, the Roman Church, one of the few organizations to survive the holocaust, made him a Saint and established an Abbey in his name to continue the important task of keeping safe the small remains of human knowledge.
Against ignorance, superstition and savage barbarian hordes, the faithful Monks of Leibowitz cherish their scraps of truth and keep alive a tradition of scholarship in a world which regards mere literacy with deadly fear. Amid radiactive debris and roving bands of grotesque mutants, the Brothers give living witness to the belief that someday mankind will arise from the ruins of his own making.
After a Dark Age lasting centuries, the beginnings of a renaissance can be seen. Leibowitz Abbey begins to attract visitors. They come for diverse reasons. Some come for knowledge... others want to obtain valuable books... some await a Promised One... some seek truth... and other come to preserve another ancient tradition—that of war.
The spark nurtured for so long at Leibowitz Abbey at last kindles a flame of scientific and technological achievement. Starships journey forth to found colonies... men and women no longer spend their entire lives toiling for a squalid existence... and, to the dismay of the Church, nations again arise, arming themselves with the fearful engines of universal destruction.
The world stil bears the scars of the Flame Deluge in searing wastelands and in the mutant flesh still being born. The next war will be the last. The Brothers of the Order of St. Leibowitz can only watch, pray and prepare for the unthinkable.Bantam - 5th Printing - May 1978
By the time of the 32nd century
The atomic Flame Deluge was over. The earth was dead. All knowledge was gone.
In a hellish, barren desert, a humble monk unearths a fragile link to 20th-century civilization. A handwritten document from the Blessed Saint Leibowitz that reads: pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels—bring home for Emma.Eos - 2006+ - 15th Printing
In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, and tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and together remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece.
"It was said that God, in order to test mankind which had become swelled with pride as in the time of Noah, had commanded the wise men of that age, among them the Blessed Leibowitz, to devise great engines of war such as had never before been upon the Earth, weapons of such might that they contained the very fires of Hell, and that God had suffered these Magi to place the weapons in the hands of princes, and to say to each prince: 'Only because thine enemies have such a thing have we devised this for thee, in order that they may know that thou hast it also, and fear to strike.'
"But the princes, putting the words of their wise men to naught, thought each to himself: 'If I but strike quickly enough, and in secret, I shall destroy those others in their sleep, and there shall be none to fight back; the earth shall be mine."
"Such was the folly of princes, and there followed the Flame Deluge..."Bantam - 5th Printing - May 1978
Listen, are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix in an unending sequence of rise and fall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, the Empires of Charlemagne and the Turk. Ground to dust and plowed with salt. Spain, France, Britain, America—burned into the oblivion of the centuries. And again and again and again.
Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?
A cry for sanity in our silent night of madness
Timeless in its vision, and as timely today as on its publication a quarter century ago, Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz is an enduring classic of eternal conflict between faith and reason.
"An extraordinary novel... Prodigiously imaginative, richly comic, terrifyingly grim, profound both intellectually and morally, and, above all, is simply such a memorable story as to stay with the reader for years."
"An extraordinary novel... chillingly effective."—Time Magazine
"An exciting and imaginative story... Unconditionally recommended."—Library JournalBantam - 5th Printing - May 1978
The prophetic bestseller of the new dark age of man
Over 1 Million copies in print
The Hugo Award-winning NovelEos - 2006+ - 15th Printing
"Extraordinary... Chillingly effective." —Time
"An extraordinary novel... Prodigiously imaginative, richly comic, terrifyingly grim, profound both intellectually and morally, and, above all, simply such a memorable story as to stay with the reader for years." —Chicago Tribune
Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of twentieth-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a post-apocalyptic future.
"Angry, eloquent... A terrific story." —New York Times
"A splendidly told story... Side-splittingly funny." —Denver Post
"A post-nuclear holocaust science-fiction masterpiece." —Seattle Times
"[A Canticle for Leibowitz] is on every sensible list of the half-dozen great novels of the last half of this century." —Toronto Sun
"One of the great science-fiction classics." —The Times(London)
"An exciting and imaginative story... Unconditionally recommended." —Library Journal
"One of science fiction's enduring masterpieces." —Kirkus Reviews