Read The Search for Fierra by Stephen R. Lawhead Free Online
Book Title: The Search for Fierra|
The author of the book: Stephen R. Lawhead
Date of issue: June 18th 1996
Loaded: 1562 times
Reader ratings: 5.9
ISBN 13: 9780310205098
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 699 KB
City - Country: No data
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I read this for the first time shortly after it first came out at the suggestion of one of my parents' friends back in the late 80s. I remember being unsure of certain aspects of the book as it seemed to delve into what was called "New Age" beliefs and technologies based on those beliefs. I do remember enjoying the book [and its sequel], though, despite my initial misgivings.
I enjoyed this series [as well as Dream Thief] more than the Dragon King series he wrote.
The novel starts out with a man taking a nutrient bath and finds himself accosted by an armed stranger. The stranger essentially kidnaps the man and takes him to a helipad where he is to be taken to a powerful man's office and offered the chance of a lifetime. The kidnapped man is Orion Treet - he is over 150 years old and a former teacher/history writer who is down on his luck. He is shot in the back while trying to escape from his kidnappers and wakes up to find himself being cared for by an angel. He is offered a large amount of money to visit the world's first extraterrestrial colony and chronicle its history as well as 'solve' a problem for the Cynetics chairman. He is asked to name a certain monetary amount to be paid for his troubles, and that amount is instantly doubled, making Treet a rather wealthy man. However, he has to leave for the colony planet right away. En route, he discovers he will be traveling to this planet orbiting Epsilon Eridani via wormhole and is profoundly disturbed. He is traveling with three other passengers [Crocker, the pilot; Yarden, an empath; and Pizzle, a nerd-genius].
Upon arrival, they orbit the planet and discover two major civilization centers. They chose to land at the primary center in the middle of the continent. After landing next to an enormous domed city, they exit their spaceship wearing environmental suits, are captured by a party coming from the giant city, and immediately separated after being taken into the city. They are given mindwipes called 'psilobes' in an attempt to delete their old memories and give them new ones, but the psilobes do not take. (view spoiler)[ Crocker is tortured to become a secret weapon for the secret police; Yarden is turned into a type of artist and enjoys her interactions with her new comrades; Pizzle is turned into a common laborer; Treet becomes the special 'pet' for the leader of the City of Dome. (hide spoiler)] The City of Dome is divided into various districts called Hages; each Hage specializes in certain functions to keep the city and society running. Each Hage has its own leader called a 'Director' who has various 'Subdirectors' assisting him in running his section of the city. Treet overcomes his conditioning first and convinces the City's leader to allow him to visit the Archives in an effort to learn more about the City's history and to make himself more useful to the Supreme Director. He also finds himself falling in love with his assigned assistant. (view spoiler)[ Finally, he discovers that the colony is over three thousand years old and that their passage through the wormhole has propelled him far into the future, forcing him to leave behind the old life that he once knew and explaining how 'old' everything looks in the enclosed city. (hide spoiler)] Little does he know that a rebellion is brewing in Dome!
The rebellion's leader, Tvrdy, initiates plans to ensure all four travelers are gathered together from the various Hages in which they have been hidden. The City's secret police/enforcers attack, forcing the four travelers and Treet's guide/assistant to flee across the desert using ancient sand skimmers. They head in the direction of the second settlement they had detected from orbit; their path takes them across an enormous desert. They eventually find a source of water and figure out a means by which they can transport water across the desert with them. They also discover they can breathe the air; it is quite painful initially but soon they are breathing without any difficulty. They also discover a source of food to take with them as they attempt to finish crossing the desert. Treet and Yarden begin to have feelings for each other. As they continue their travel, they encounter a strange mist that adversely affects them and coats them in a thick crust of dried puss, dead skin, and blood. During the course of the illness, they lose their water supply. A giant airship flies overhead one night, and the travelers realize they can still be saved [if they can only get the attention of one of the traveling airships]. Unbeknownst to the other four, Pizzle manages to create a signalling device to gain the attention of another airship as the other four pass out and slide toward death. They are saved by medical members of the Fierran airship and are taken to Fierra.
They discover Fierra is paradise [in their eyes]; that the people have created a near-perfect society and have no crime as everybody knows their place in this 'perfect' society. They are nursed back to health by the Fierrans and eventually are asked to tell their stories to the inhabitants. After hearing their stories, Treet realizes he needs to return to Dome be because the same mass hysteria that caused Dome to launch their first attack that devastated the Fierran civilization was starting to manifest itself again in Dome. The only problem is that the Fierrans have made vows of non-interference and non-violence and are willing to die for their beliefs if Dome once again attacks with nuclear weapons. Treet states his desire to return to Dome, but to his dismay Yarden rejects him and their burgeoning relationship by refusing to return to Dome with him. Pizzle also refuses to return to Dome, having found a life he never knew possible in Fierra. In the end, only Crocker and Treet's former assistant decide to return. Treet, his assistant Calin, and Crocker return to Dome via airship. The airship drops them off a couple of days' walk outside of Dome with enough supplies to make it in one piece. (view spoiler)[ However, disaster strikes in that Crocker attacks the other two and kills the assistant and quasi-lover of Treet; Crocker then suffers a mental breakdown and flees the scene, leaving Treet to bury his friend/lover/guide/savior before continuing his quest. (hide spoiler)] The book ends with Treet entering Dome.
Despite being almost thirty years old at this point, I felt the book held up well with the passage of time. It has to be an interesting attempt at writing 'Christian science fiction' as Christian writing usually requires certain things to happen [such as God and some form of salvation needing to be introduced somewhere in the story; some sort of traumatic event has to occur; the hero has to come to some sort of realization of his or her need for a Savior and his or her own personal inability to overcome evil; etc.] and is generally between G-rated and PG-rated [in that it is not expected to have a lot of swearing or graphic sex; the level of 'acceptably described violence' seems to vary, for some reason]. (view spoiler)[ There is no 'graphic sex,' per se, but it does exist in the book. Probably why I never picked up on it while reading the book for the first few times. :) The joys of having a clean mind! (hide spoiler)] Christianity leaves very little room for pre-existing advanced, intelligent life on other planets [due in part to Adam's sin adversely affecting all of creation and the injustice of one man's sin eternally damning an intelligent, advanced alien species], so any 'pre-existing life on other planets' would have to be non-intelligent life forms sharing space with some human colony that has suffered some form of catastrophe and is cut off from Earth in some fashion.
The character development probably could have been a bit better; however, sometimes less is more as it allows one's mind to fill in the gaps when it comes to reading. Not saying that Lawhead is any kind of 'genius' in his writings, but I think he usually does between a good and great job of developing his characters. Treet probably gets the best character development; the other characters not so much. Pizzle probably is second-best; Crocker would be third, and Yarden seems to be left off as an imagined 'ice queen' that changes into a 'real woman' as we 'get to know her' over the course of the story [despite this apparent 'character development' I still did not feel like she was given very good treatment]. The members of Dome and Fierra we meet are given various levels of development; some definitely come across as 'stock characters'
I still enjoyed the book [despite it being written in the mid-80s].
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Read information about the authorStephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.
Also see his fanpage at Myspace:
Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological college for two years. His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.
After a brief foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he began full-time freelance writing in 1981. He moved to England in order to research Celtic legend and history. His first novel, In the Hall of the Dragon King, became the first in a series of three books (The Dragon King Trilogy) and was followed by the two-volume Empyrion saga, Dream Thief and then the Pendragon Cycle, now in five volumes: Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, and Grail. This was followed by the award-winning Song of Albion series which consists of The Paradise War, The Silver Hand, and The Endless Knot.
He has written nine children's books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, also a writer, with whom he has collaborated on some books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.
Stephen's non-fiction, fiction and children's titles have been published in twenty-one foreign languages. All of his novels have remained continuously in print in the United States and Britain since they were first published. He has won numereous industry awards for his novels and children's books, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.
also write under the name Steve Lawhead
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