Hammerfall is set in a desert world where the low-tech populace is completely ignorant of their interstellar origins and of the conflict between (alien?) races that is about to engulf them. The book largely consists of the intricacies of desert travel in a world where the nanotech-enforced scavengers have gotten a little out of control. Several of the primary characters are ‘mad’, they receive visions that direct them to a certain place and warn of an incomprehensible impending disaster. One of these, a former prince of the independent desert tribes, is sent by the enigmatic and seemingly immortal ruler to investigate the cause of the madness; however, she knows far more than she’s willing to tell the mad prince.

Beyond simply being a fantasy-esque trip through the desert with a few fleshed-out characters, there’s not a lot to this book. The low-tech characters’ views of the strange technologies they encounter is slightly interesting but could have been done a lot better - more mysterious, creepier, more wonderous, something. This book might be an opener for a series, I don’t know; as a standalone the interstellar implications of the story are vague and uninteresting, and those implications are supposed to be the driving force of the plot.