This book is a dystopian, post apocalyptic future with some interesting gender politics. It lacks the punch, I think I was expecting, but it was an interesting novel.
In this future world, the main society featured is one where there are walled women's towns, ruled by a matriarchal council, and each town has a garrison of men that live outside the walls. The two only mix twice a year, for a festival that seems to be centered around procreation for the next generation. The novel showcases the power struggles of the stereotypically aggressive male garrison and the council that rules the town. I thought the morally ambiguous practices by the women were interesting, as well as how they dealt with the stresses with living in a low-tech world that was left devastated and short on available resources.
Another kind of life that was briefly shown was a patriarchal polygynous system. The only part about the polygnous part of the book was that Tepper actually touched on the stresses within the system, where there are too many men and not enough women, due to the heads having too many wives and the practice of selective infanticide.
Overall, it was a very interesting book and I really enjoyed it.