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There are books that you read when you're 10 that change who you are, and what you are going to become. For me one of those books was Sylvia Engdahl's Heritage Of The Star (published in the US as This Star Shall Abide). The story of Noren's rebellion from the restrictions of accepted thought was moving and engaging, and his journey to discover the truth behind the prophecies and laws that structured the world one that inspired my life in science and technology. It was a book I went back to again and again for many years, a story that affected me in more ways than I can possibly count.

But there was one thing I didn't know: it wasn't a stand alone novel. In fact, it was the first of a trilogy. While the UK publisher felt the story ended well, Engdahl had actually realised there was much to tell, and two volumes, Beyond The Tomorrow Mountains and The Doors Of The Universe followed.

While wandering the dealers room at the ConJose, I found myself spending time at the Meisha Merlin stand, picking up collections and reprints of long lost, much loved books. It was there that I found Children Of The Star, a single volume collection of all the Noren novels. Not surprisingly it found its way back to the UK...

So does the trilogy mean as much as the original novel? Certainly it expands on Engdahl's original ideas, and comes to an unexpected conclusion. But nearly 30 years have passed since I first read Heritage Of The Star, and I'm a very different person, and that's surely got to have some sort of effect. And it does. It's still an enjoyable read, but the blind acceptance of the population as a whole of the Prophecy at the heart of the novels doesn't ring true any more. Still, I can happily suspend disbelief in far weirder things, and Engdahl's writing more than makes up for the minor niggles.

A recommended trilogy. Probably as a whole better suited for a young teen than the 10 year old, but a worthy read with lots of ideas and questions to stretch any mind - of any age.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2002 12:05 pm (UTC)
I adored Heritage of the Star too as a child - one of the 2 less well known bks that really stood out from my childhood reading other than the obvious Narnias, Earthseas, etc (the other oddity being Andra by Louise Lawrence - read that?). I admired the way especially that it both rejected blind mysticism and respect fro class and hierarchical authority while accepting (in time) that sometimes things had explanations, and exculpations, that were not immediately obvious (or obviously right, in terms of science discourse). It would be a marvellous part of a national curriculum in moral philosophy/religion in fact.

I too recently discovered (on Amazon) that it was a trilogy, and have bought it, but not yet read - rather worried I will now find it too preachy. She really can write however - Enchantress of the Stars is also rather wonderful tho its sequel (forget name) is a bit heavy going in an Amnesty International kind of way, tho still well worth persevering with - but she certainly is a writer not scared to engage straight on with the most difficult moral issues without in any way being the "usual" kind of semi Christian apologist, or the antithesis, the rabid anti-religionist.

Good to see someone else mention this name after all these years!
Dec. 21st, 2002 12:05 pm (UTC)
PS and happy birthday to you!
Dec. 23rd, 2002 08:00 am (UTC)
Certainly there's a level of evangelism in the whole series that tends to match that seen in overtly religious fiction - but at least Engdahl is evangelising a secular humanist world view, something this world sadly needs...
Dec. 22nd, 2002 05:14 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday (for yesterday)!
Dec. 22nd, 2002 07:43 am (UTC)
I didn't know! Knew there was a party but not why!

Sorry I couldn't make it - but belated (as ever) congrats!
Dec. 22nd, 2002 05:35 am (UTC)
Not sure if it just me and the MonSter, but I am having a lot of difficulty working out the maning of your first sentence:
"There are books that you read when your 10 that change who you are, and what you are going to become."
I have read it 20 or so times, now (something that happens to me a lot), but have got no closer to working it out...
Dec. 22nd, 2002 05:37 am (UTC)
OH! I have just worked it out! I was being too literal and did not spot that the "your" should be a "you're". Sorry - I was not criticising - I was truly flummoxed! ;-/
Dec. 22nd, 2002 01:24 pm (UTC)
Sorry! I have now fixed the typo...
Dec. 22nd, 2002 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And, sorry fo that...
Happy Birthday, by the way - life got in the wat of us getting to your bash yesterday - hope it was good...
(pedantic website tester and proofreader from heck)
Dec. 27th, 2002 08:23 am (UTC)
I loved Heritage of the Star when I was younger - thanks for reminding me of it, and now I know it's the first of a trilogy I may have to look for the whole thing and re-read...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )