The Children of Darkness by David Litwack – Book Review
The Children of Darkness by David Litwack – Book Reviewed by Nia
The Seekers Book One
Publisher – Evolved Publishing
Pages – 314
Release Date – 22nd June 2015
ISBN 13 – 978-1622534340
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
“But what are we without dreams?”
A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity.
For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.
Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo.
When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light—they barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her.
In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy, for a truth from the past awaits that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might once again release the potential of their people.
Yet they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written: “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.”
Like all of the best dystopian future novels, this story was deliberately vague about the ‘when’ and ‘where’ so that it would remain timeless. What we do know is that it is set hundreds of years from the present day, in a second dark age centuries old.
The premise of this novel was excellent and highly poignant in this day and age. The world is undergoing a second dark age, spanning centuries, where all progress, discovery and freedom of thought is halted by a religious order known as ‘The Temple’.
This order isn’t inherently evil, it has been created by agreement following devastating destruction caused by religious wars in the past – this order is the amalgamation of different religions, keeping only the best and fundamental facets.
The order has now become corrupt and is ‘teaching’ young adults in the population, to ensure that civilians are obedient and reject ‘the darkness’ which is essentially anything which can be considered to call the Temple into question. This teaching involves non-violently torturing one in three young people and traumatising them into obedience, which has led to what approaches a majority of the population despising and resenting the regime.
The story follows three characters who have certain fleeting similarities to the main characters of the "Harry Potter" series; all three have very strong and unique personalities but they are bound by loyalty, friendship and bravery. I love to see this in young adult books, characters who compromise and sacrifice their own safety for friendships rather than for romantic ties.
These three best friends are a perfect combination of personalities;
Thomas is a happy-go-lucky boy who is chosen by the Temple to undergo a ‘teaching’, despite the psychological damage he suffers from this, he returns to his friends and will do anything to help them despite his fears.
He can’t feel the same resolve as the other two to overthrow the Temple because he can understand why the organisation exists, having been shown the atrocities associated with ‘the darkness’ that the Temple protects the population from, however his loyalty is with his friends.
Nathan is an imaginative and brave character, he doesn’t question that he is destined for better things than he can hope to achieve back home. When he finds himself in a position to escape the Temple and ultimately save both of his best friends, he doesn’t question it and jumps in head first – this is perfectly balanced by Orah, the wiser and more steadfast of the three who keeps them on track and safe. She isn’t afraid to back down from a fight, but is the most likely to think their way out of needing to fight in the first place.
This story is excellently paced, the three friends begin a journey to collect four clues which will lead them to the keep, a mysterious location which will contain the knowledge to bring down the Temple. Each clue allows us to learn more about this interesting world and the history of new characters to form our own opinion about the Temple, the author has clearly planned this out very carefully so that none of the story is rushed or filled with information dumps.
Once the characters arrive at the keep, the tone of the book then changes from the adventure and chase sequences we have encountered so far and becomes more introspective, as each character now faces the moral dilemma of what they should do with the new information they have uncovered.
I really enjoyed this book, the author has a wonderful use of language and doesn’t bombard us with unnecessary information regarding the world or the characters, we are allowed to work certain things out for ourselves but all the important details are provided.
The relationship between the main characters was particularly inspiring, that they remained loyal to each other despite everything they went through and their separation.
I would highly recommend this to young adults with a passion for reading, but also older adults who enjoy dystopian future novels – this contains some very interesting ideas regarding the resolution of religious wars in society and what would happen in the aftermath.
Reviewed by Nia
The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.
Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.
There Comes a Prophet is his first novel in this new stage of life.
David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.