The Stuff of Stars
by David Litwack
GENRE: Science Fiction
Book 2 of The Seekers series continues the story started in the critically-acclaimed, multiple award-winning The Children of Darkness.
Against all odds, Orah and Nathaniel have found the keep and revealed the truth about the darkness, initiating what they hoped would be a new age of enlightenment. But the people were more set in their ways than anticipated, and a faction of vicars whispered in their ears, urging a return to traditional ways.
Desperate to keep their movement alive, Orah and Nathaniel cross the ocean to seek the living descendants of the keepmasters’ kin. Those they find on the distant shore are both more and less advanced than expected.
The seekers become caught between the two sides, and face the challenge of bringing them together to make a better world. The prize: a chance to bring home miracles and a more promising future for their people. But if they fail this time, they risk not a stoning but losing themselves in the twilight of a never-ending dream.
The children hoisted their sacks and led us along a muddy road that straddled the rim of the cliffs. Breakers from the storm still pounded the rocks and sent an angry spray across our path. Clouds of squawking gulls wheeled overhead, eyeing the catch of fish.
After a while, we left the gulls behind and entered a well-trodden trail cut through the woods. The scent of the sea dwindled with the offshore breeze, replaced by the welcome smells of land—pine resin and moist earth, growing plants and animals with fur instead of scales. How good to leave the tumultuous sea behind, even if its waters represented our last link to home.
The line of children rambled along without speaking. What must they think of us, these strangers who’d crashed so unceremoniously on their shore?
A rustling in the trees distracted me. Not far from the start of the inland path, I noticed the silent boy peeking at us between the branches. The other children ignored him.
I caught up to Kara. “Who is that boy, and why do you pretend he’s not there?”
Kara shrugged. “He’s an IB.”
“What’s an IB?”
“They call themselves people of the earth, but we call them greenies, just as they call us technos. The younger children prefer IB, short for ishkabibblers. The mentor teaches us that their thoughts are nothing but babble. That’s why we started calling them ishkabbiblers.”
I gaped at her, my mind too tired to comprehend.
Kara’s mouth spread into a grin. “You know, the sound you make by running your fingers over your lips while humming.”
She demonstrated, making the silly sound. The other children joined in, and I had to laugh despite the cramps in my legs. She laughed with me. I glanced over my shoulder, taking in the last glimpse of the ocean. How different this new land from our side of the sea.
Nathaniel smiled and squeezed my hand, and I squeezed back. Then I looked past him into the woods, searching for the young IB, but the boy had vanished, devoured by the trees.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.
David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.
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3.75 out of 5 stars
The Stuff of Stars by David Litwack is Book 2 of ‘The Seekers’ series and follows the adventures of Orah Weber and her husband, Nathaniel, as they explore the lands across the ocean in a courageous attempt to find those with more advanced technology to help with the challenges facing those they left behind. The interactions with their distant relatives are full of surprises, including a distinct division between those who are dependent on failing technology and those who have become self-reliant and are attempting to live on the land. Unfortunately, strife and intolerance have not been left behind, and Orah and Nathaniel may have based all of their hopes on a non-existent resource, unless they can unlock the mystery of the Dreamers.
This science fiction story explores the dichotomy between believing someone else has a solution and finding one’s own answer to problems. The story can be read as a stand alone as there is enough backstory to parse out previous events, but I am sure things would be less mysterious if one was familiar with the trauma and challenges already overcome by this resourceful and determined couple. There are nice twists to the tale but I found myself wondering whether anything major was actually going to happen or if this was a somewhat ponderous character study…although I didn’t feel any depth of connection to the main characters until close to the end. I think this is a tale that would be most appreciated by those who like to follow a gentle tale of discoveries set in another world, that is both primitive and advanced, with plenty of thorny philosophical questions as well as the pragmatic ones involving day-to-day survival.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review