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THE KEEPERS OF THE FLAME by Jennifer Armstrong


From the Fire-us Trilogy series, volume 2

by Jennifer Armstrong & Nancy Butcher

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-008049-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

In this post-apocalyptic sequel to The Kindling (p. 329), ten children—allegorically named, and allegorically flat—hit a roadblock in their search for President. Mommy, Teacher, Hunter, mentally disturbed Angerman, and the little kids are initially pleased to find living grown-ups in a world which has been devastated by the fire-us plague. But this religious community, which calls itself the Keepers of the Flame, is oddly sinister. Adult Keepers take the feral children, Puppy and Kitty, away, theoretically to improve their care. Seemingly protective, the adult Keepers systematically undermine the strengths of the questing children until 14-year-old Mommy feels that she has changed from “a responsible, tender, brave mommy who looked after a whole family” into “a useless child.” The only young Keeper the children meet is Corinthians 1:19, who, confusingly, seems to be the only child in the community. Cory has reached the age at which the Keepers send away all their young women in a mysterious and frightening ritual. Cory discovers a disturbing connection she has to Puppy and Kitty, and a need for Teacher’s holy Book, which no one but Teacher is allowed to see. The suspense rises as the children flee the mall that acts as home for the Keepers. A mild excess of gratuitous violence, given the reading level, and too convoluted, but a page-turner nonetheless. (Science fiction. 10-13)