Thursday, August 22, 2013
Defender of the Flame by Sylvia Engdahl
"Starship pilot Terry Radnor, involved in a secret mission after training that gives him extraordinary physical and psychic capabilities, finds fulfillment in love and in commitment to a cause—until an ironic twist of fate tears him away from everything he cares about. He is forced to build a whole new life, far from all that has previously mattered to him. Is there any hope that he can fulfill his pledge to protect the world whose safety is crucial to the future of humankind?
While this novel completes the trilogy begun with Stewards of the Flame and Promise of the Flame it is a completely independent story set two hundred years later, and can be read alone."
Worldbuilding: This completes the worldbuilding started in the first two books. This is a future where the power of the mind is front and center in the story. The first part of the book re-introduces how the mind can be trained and the concept of moving humans to a new level. There are some new elements presented in the book that advance the story 200 years.
Backstory: This is the third book in a trilogy and there is quite a bit of backstory that leads to Defender of the Flame. Don’t worry about being confused about what is happening and why. The important elements that you need to know are presented in conservations and arrive as you need to keep up with what is happening.
Plot: Humans can develop new mind powers but if the knowledge gets out too soon that development can be killed and humans will come to a dead end. The one planet where the development is part of the culture must be protected. There are new elements that want to protect and some that want to destroy.
Characters: This is basically the story of one character, Terry Radnor. While he interacts with many others, Terry is the only character who is in the entire story. The others are there and then gone.
Writing: The book is well written and mostly in an active voice. It did get a little long at times. Some things were presented a few more times than I though they needed to. I did think the book had a very elegantly written ending.
I have said this before but it bears repeating, Stewarts of the Flame was one of the best discussion book we read at our Science Fiction Book Club. It is free on Amazon. Pick it up and then get the other two books in the trilogy. The series is entertaining while presenting a very interesting message.
Ad Stellae Books published Defender of the Flame by Sylvia Engdahl in 2013.