I am trying to remember the name of a sci-fi book I read in the late 90's, in English. The book was written by a female author and starts out with a husband trying to kill a weed, to no avail. In time, his wife leaves him and befriends the weed. Eventually the weed helps her arrive at a time in the future where people are being ridden by animals.

I read it in the late 90's and in English.

  • It would help if you edited your question to add when you read this, where, and in what language :) Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 18:06
  • It's by Sherri Tepper, but I cannot remember the title and don't have time to search now.
    – timbp
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 0:28

1 Answer 1


This is The Family Tree by Sheri S Tepper (1998).

Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere she turns. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place.

And, strangest of all, Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora.

A potential civilization-ending catastrophe is in the making. The nearer Dora gets to a murderer--and to the truth--the more seemingly disparate events begin to entwine. And the answers she seeks today to the salvation of humankind may lie in afar distant future. . .one which is suddenly much closer than anyone imagines.

Book interleaves chapters set in Dora's time and the far future. Dora eventually is taken to the future, where we find the characters are talking animals and the beasts of burden are humans who chose that role to atone for what humans had done. The humans are waiting for fulfilment of a prophecy that would end their servitude. Enter Dora...

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