The finale to The Seekers trilogy finds Litwack’s (The Stuff of Stars, 2015, etc.) heroes returning to their home of Little Pond, hoping to wrest it from religious fanatics.
A fractured world suffers from spiritual and intellectual darkness. After avoiding war between two tribes across the sea, Orah and Nathaniel sail home to Little Pond. Their vessel is designed by the dreamers—whose minds have merged into a state beyond the physical—and carries more than 30 people, including Kara, mistress of the dreamers’ advanced technology, and Caleb, leader of the builders and warriors dedicated to living in harmony with nature. Also with the group is an “opaque black cube” with “bits of lightning flashing inside like a captive storm.” This device contains some of the disembodied dreamers, who will advise Kara and the seekers on how to handle the repressive Temple of Light. When Orah and her husband reach home, they find Nathaniel’s father a fugitive from the new regime, which denies individuals the freedom to think, feel, or even dress as the spirit craves. When they ask about their friend, the musician Thomas, they’re told, “He’s gone to a darker place.” To save him, the seekers marshal an army to march from Little Pond to Temple City, where the vicars are based. In this third installment, Litwack gives fans a plot both action-driven and cerebral. Though Caleb says, “no change comes without the shedding of blood,” Orah refuses to torture a captive deacon. Instead, they treat the man humanely, and he experiences the seekers’ philosophy firsthand. Portrayals of violence and its consequences will resonate with readers; after a battle, the living “suffered in silence, as if in sympathy with those silenced forever.” Litwack excels in poeticizing his themes with lines like, “If we are the stuff of stars, how can we act like beasts of the field?” All around, a superbly crafted adventure.
An enthralling finish to a thoughtful, uplifting sci-fi series.