A novel by Sheri S. Tepper about a post-nuclear war Earth where most men live in roving warrior bands and women live in enclosed cities. The women's cities are enclaves of peace and learning, while the men are constantly at war with each other. The only men in the cities are the castrated servitors and young sons. At age 5 boys go to live with their warrior fathers, and at age 15 they must choose whether to remain warriors or return as servitors to the women's peaceful cities. The book tells the story of Stella, a young woman who follows in her mother's footsteps in becoming a doctor and, after an affair with a warrior outside of the designated mating festivals, begins to unravel the mysterious secret of the women's council and the servitors. An excellent excellent book. Well written and lacking the sometimes unsettling last minute plot twists of most Tepper novels.