Monday, November 17, 2014

Herald Of The Flame-Sylvia Engdahl

Herald Of The Flame
Sylvia Engdahl
Ad Stellae Books, Oct 2 2014, $16.50
ISBN: 9780692293768

He was Terry Radner from top secret Maclairn where, unlike the rest of humanity on other planets, mental powers are encouraged; on Ciencia he became a freedom fighter, prisoner, and escapee Terry Rivera, but crashed his ship to protect his homeland from terrorists.  Elders saved his life; gave him a new identity as Terry Steward; provided him with a starship he calls Estel to recognize what he fostered on Ciencia; and a mission to help spread support for mind skills in order to save mankind.  He knows he can never go home and misses his wife and the tweener son he never met, but embraces his role. 

Captain Steward returns to Ciencia to ask his beloved Allison Willard and pilot Jon Darrow to join him.  Gwen the engineer also becomes part of the crew.  As the quartet begin their impossible Quixote quest, Steward makes a dangerous announcement to the people of Ciencia; while, assaults on those with mental abilities everywhere intensifies.  The Captain of the Estel becomes public enemy number one hunted by hired guns by those in charge who reject these skills as an abomination, but conceal from the manipulated masses their fear of losing power.

The second Hidden Flame science fiction is a terrific timely futuristic thriller as deniers in charge persecute those with abilities they fear leading to equality and subsequent loss of power.  The pace starts more leisurely than the first entry (see Stewards of the Flame) and the previous series Rising Flame (see Promise of the Flame and Defender of the Flame), but once in space readers will want to fly with stalked Captain “Terry and (his) Pirates” (cartoonist Milton Caniff).

Harriet Klausner

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