A pilgrimage leads to a shocking revelation in this “deeply affecting and evocative extraterrestrial novel” from the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author (Locus).
The village of Jespodar nestles in the foothills of a world-dominating mountain known to all as "The Wall." Poilar Crookleg has grown up in Jespodar training hard and hoping that he will be chosen for the annual Pilgrimage, a group journey to the top of the mountain from which no pilgrim has ever returned both alive and sane. The pilgrims seek to replicate the legendary journey of a distant ancestor who scaled the mountain and, so the story goes, met with the gods. The Pilgrimage is a a life journey, an overwhelming challenge and a sacred honor and Poilar feels blessed when he is finally chosen to lead it.
But not all is as it first seems. Along the journey lie hazards of all kinds, both vilently dangerous and seductively beguiling and to triumph in the climb is to confront a revelation so surprising and so disturbing that none, not even the smartest and best prepared, are likely to survive. What belief and what devotion leads so many to hope for such a challenging task and what will be the ultimate result of such dedication? Only The Wall itself can reveal the destiny for those who undertake the Pilgrimage.