Plague threatens to wipe out humanity--on Earth and on every other inhabited planet except the planet Grass. It seems that no one living on Grass has the plague and anyone who arrives on the planet who is infected with the plague is healed while on Grass. Rigo and Marjorie Westriding are sent from Earth as ambassadors to Grass to discover if the plague exists on Grass and if not, why not. They find that the aristocracy, the bons, live for hunting on the local "horses," the Hippae. The Commoners live, work and play in their own separate community until a young bon girl suddenly appears in Common Town, her mind wiped of all memory. In an abandoned city of the Arbai, a long-dead race, Marjorie finds the horrible answers regarding the plague and a new destiny for herself.
In Grass, Sheri Tepper speculates on a possible future of the church, which has become the dreaded "Sanctity," and the ultimate gap between the haves and the have nots. Grass could be considered "cross- cultural" science fiction, in which humanity's attempt to give human values to alien cultures leads to misunderstanding, and, in the extreme, death.
Reviewed by cp, 6/00. Other reviews by cp.