There Comes a Prophet
A world kept peaceful for a thousand years by the magic of the ruling vicars. But a threat lurks from a violent past. Wizards from the darkness have hidden their sorcery in a place called the keep, and left a trail of clues that have never been solved.
Nathaniel has grown up longing for more but unwilling to challenge the vicars. Until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching, the mysterious coming-of-age ritual. Thomas returns but with his dreams ripped away. When Orah is taken next, Nathaniel tries to rescue her and ends up in the prisons of Temple City. There he meets the first keeper of the ancient clues. But when he seeks the keep, what he finds is not magic at all.
If he reveals the truth, the words of the book of light might come to pass:
“If there comes among you a prophet saying, ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”
Then, as you might expect, a “prophet” rises, a young man who has dreams in defiance of the vicars. Nathaniel is no daring hero, though, and keeps his dreams to himself until he’s driven to protect his friends. In doing so, he comes to learn about what might have been and what he must do to bring “darkness” back to the people. Nathaniel and his friends, Orah and Thomas, set off on what will become a great adventure.
In the end, the most important player might be a man named Kiran.
I found a couple of things very intriguing about this story. Most important, there were aspects of these teens that I didn’t care for. In simple terms—
In spite of this, I actually did like these kids, perhaps because they weren’t so SHINY as many young adult characters are and there’s much more to them than these shallow impressions. The other thing I appreciated is the author’s creation of a good versus evil theme that is not at all like the usual. Just imagine how different things might be in our world if factions in power could bring themselves to true compromise.
There are certainly some flaws to be found in this story. The teachings are a form of brainwashing but seem to be too mild and short-lived to have the crippling effects we see in Thomas and there is little real tension or sense of danger in their search for the Keep. In fact, there’s no tension in the requisite romance either and I really think this novel might be better suited to the middle-grade reader rather than young adult. I also have to say I don’t like the cover because it’s too dark to see it clearly online.
When all is said and done, David Litwack is an accomplished author with a good story and I expect we’ll be seeing much more of him in the future.