In Stuff of the Stars, award-winning author David Litwack told the story of childhood friends Orah and Nathaniel, and their voyage to find the descendants of the Keepers in the hopes they would be able to help them understand the secrets kept within the Keep, a storehouse of knowledge of the time before the Darkness. I read this book before book one, The Seekers: The Children of Darkness, and became curious about the events that led up to the fateful voyage, events that were alluded to in the second book. After finishing The Seekers, I am even more impressed with Litwack’s ability to create a believable post-apocalyptic world.
Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas have been friends since childhood. Living in their tiny village of Little Pond, they want more out of life than is offered by the teachings of the vicars of the Temple of Light, but are afraid to challenge the status quo. When Thomas is taken away for ‘teaching,’ and returns with his spirit broken, they become even more determined to break away from the oppressive order. The defining moment comes when Orah is taken for teaching, and Nathaniel defies his father and follows after her to rescue her. Held prisoner in the Temple City, Nathaniel encounters a fellow prisoner, Samuel, who has been imprisoned for decades. He learns that Samuel is a Seeker, who, as he approaches the end of his life, is looking for someone to take over for him, and he believes that Nathaniel is that someone.
Armed with secret instructions from Samuel, he travels with Orah and Thomas in search of the Keep. When they find it, all that they thought they knew is challenged—moreover, they are determined to challenge the iron hold the Temple of Light has over the people.
The Seekers is post-apocalyptic fiction at its best. Without going into great detail, it addresses issues that are relevant today—and nails down the truth; power corrupts, and the desire for power leads to unimaginable evil. It also shows that for evil to prevail, it is only necessary for good people to stand by and do nothing.
If you’re a fast reader, you can probably finish this book in about three hours, but give yourself more time. This is one you need to read slowly so that you can absorb all the messages that it so skillfully conveys.
I give it five stars.
Despite formidable obstacles, Orah and Nathaniel found the keep and revealed the truth that the vicars had been keeping from them. They crossed the ocean seeking the descendants of the keepmasters’ kin, hoping they will have the answers they seek. To their dismay, they discover those they seek are both more and less advanced than expected, and they find themselves caught up in a struggle between two sides—those who worship technology, and those who want to return to a pre-technological existence.
In order to broker peace between the sides, they volunteer to enter the realm of the never-ending dream in which some of the people have been trapped. What they discover has profound implications for the future of everyone.
The Stuff of Stars by David Litwack is entertaining sci-fi/fantasy, with compelling characters in a credible setting. Like good fantasy, it goes where no mind has gone before, and like good sci-fi, makes the reader believe it just might be real.
The Stuff of Stars is the stuff of a good story. I give it four stars.