The Lost Art
David Fickling (Random House), Jun 2008, $16.99
A thousand years have passed since the great war destroyed civilization and radically changed the environment with massive climate alterations. The age of the machine users is gone replaced by a Church enforced Dark Age in which pre-industrial pockets have formed. Science is forbidden and technology taboo in the Turn post machine world.
Something attacks the remote Siberian Saint Samuil of Arkady monastery that contains in its scriptorium books written by the Users; every resident except Va the monk dies in the assault; the reference tomes are stolen. Va vows to retrieve the books before they are misused. Princess Eleyna also saw the carnage and joins Va, whom she loves, on his quest.
Two groups of earth descendents who colonized another planet differ on how to help the beleaguered orb. One wants to bring back science and technology way beyond even that of the Users. The other wants to leave earth alone. Benzamir Mahmood comes to earth, to insure there is no interference from his tribe. He meets Va and Eleyna, and realizes the urgency of possessing the books before they are employed with catastrophic results like probably destroying the world.
Although the target audience is young teens, adults will appreciate this bleak post apocalyptic science fiction thriller. The three lead protagonists and several key secondary characters agree on the outcome objective, but radically differ on the means to achieve the end state they desire. That concept is the prime underlying theme to this strong quest thriller as each individual (and readers) asks themselves whether any method is acceptable to accomplish the mission. Although the ending seems wrong for what happened prior; as if talented Simon Morden suddenly had to dumb down an intelligent well written story line to fit his prime readers, highs school students and older fans will enjoy the journey.