At some point in the past, my grandfather let me read a book featuring tribes at war (I think it was 6). Each tribe had some carefully guarded unique power, one I remember was rapid regeneration. This regeneration was so fast that anything short if cutting of their head was non-fatal.

I recall some major incident where the main character, who is one of these regenerators, is cut in half and BOTH halves regenerate. The story of course concludes with a confrontation between the MC and his doppelganger.

I also recall there were individuals who could shape-shift, or make themselves appear as other people, and they were infiltrating all the tribes and inspiring conflict.

The MC was a prince or heir of his tribe, and he killed his younger brother by accident. He injured him in a way his regeneration should have fixed, but it wasn't his brother, it was one of the shape-shifters.


That's Orson Scott Card's A Planet Called Treason.
(Later republished with a lot of edits as just 'Treason.')

The main character is Lanik Mueller, heir apparent to the Mueller family (the Regenerators.) At one point, he is severely injured (disemboweled, as I recall) and both the main body and the removed section regenerate fully, resulting in him having basically a clone, later. Lanik is a Radical Regenerative, tho, so his body regenerates even when it's not needed, and extra body parts are formed. Later in the story, working with one of the other groups, he is able to correct that issue.

Early in the story, when he leaves, he slashes Dinte (his annoying younger brother) across the throat; that should have been a slap-on-the-wrist level injury, given his family's healing abilities, but it turns out that he never had a brother, and, as you mention, the 'brother' was one of the Shape-shifters (actually, illusionists, from the Anderson family), so it killed him. Using skills learned from the Andersons, the accidental 'clone' we mentioned earlier takes his place.

Other families / skills you may remember, include one where the members are able to basically commune with the planet, another where the members can control the passage of time in a bubble around them, and those with the ability to cloud the minds of those around them, that our hero refers to as 'illuders.'

  • sounds like a pretty easy way to keep spies out of your family: just periodically slit everyone's wrists or something similar, and you never have to worry about their identity
    – childcat15
    Jul 28 '15 at 18:21
  • @childcat15 -- quite true, with regards to the main family. (Actually, a kind of self-injury was used by them as a sign of mourning. Basically, they felt the pain, but suffered no long term effect, so it was a gesture to them.) But, then, before the advent of the illuders, they knew each other by sight, and never really worried about it.
    – K-H-W
    Jul 28 '15 at 18:47

This sounds a lot like the book "Treason" by Orson Scott Card. It's one of my favorites!

Some of the other powers are time dilation, forming rock walls at will, mind control, etc. The main character travels all over the planet, learning the different skills.

Here is the wikipedia article for his book (initially published as "A Planet Called Treason"


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