"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Excerpt from the speech 'Citizenship In A Republic' - Theodore Roosevelt"– Kirkus Reviews
In this sci-fi outing, a 15-year-old boy may hold the key to an ancient prophecy foretelling the possible doom of planet Spearca.
It’s akin to the medieval period on Spearca, a world of kingdoms and castles. But there’s at least some advanced technology, including aircraft and telephonic communications. The Unified Kingship monitors people across the realm with the Great Eyes, perpetually hovering orbs always recording. This is to make certain kingdoms abide by the Treaty of Eximius, which limits enhanced weaponry. A king known as the Father initiates battles not for land, but for information. He targets the Keepers, who hold knowledge of the Numas, overseers of the realm who ensure a level “playing field.” The Father’s convinced the Numas have hidden technology that he wants, and he soon learns about young Petro, ward to King Amerstall of the kingdom Dugual. The boy may be part of a prophecy, a special being who will bring forth death and destruction as a blue fire covers Spearca. Petro, meanwhile, undergoes training as a Numa recruit. He doesn’t know whether the Numas are aware of his unique ability: he experiences random episodes of precognition. As the Father devises a plan of attack against Dugual, Petro sees what looks to be a harrowing future. The novel boasts action with shades of sci-fi and fantasy. Rigsby (The Broken Christmas Tree, 2014) aptly develops the setting, clearly detailing Spearca and its inhabitants without a surplus of exposition. And there’s a slow-building mystery: the Father, for example, suffers from an unknown disease, hoping the equally enigmatic Numa tech will help. On a grander scale, no one’s gone farther than the White Sea’s horizon, an apparent stopping point. This is unmistakably the start of something bigger, as the story ends with a cliffhanger in lieu of a climax. Notwithstanding, Rigsby delivers a smashing sword duel, and Petro and fellow recruits even embark on a potentially dangerous wild boar hunt. Technology, too, is incorporated intelligently; for readers it’s both old, like your basic landlines, and new—viddons manage video/audio links via surgical implants.
A mere introduction to a strange but undoubtedly enticing world, and one that readers should happily return to.