Noren knew that his world was not as it should be — it was wrong that only the Scholars, and their representatives the Technicians, could use metal tools and Machines. It was wrong that only they had access to the mysterious City, which even in boyhood he had longed to enter. Above all, it was wrong for the Scholars to have sole power over the distribution of knowledge. The High Law imposed these restrictions and many others, though the Prophecy declared that someday knowledge and Machines would be available to everyone. Noren was a heretic. He had now come to believe in the Prophecy’s fulfillment, yet the more he learned of the grim truth about his people’s deprivations, the less possible it seemed that their world could ever be changed. Was it right to keep on promising them a brighter future?
This is the second book of the Children of the Star trilogy. It is preceded by This Star Shall Abide (issued in the UK under the title Heritage of the Star) and followed by The Doors of the Universe, also available as e-books. The three are independently readable, although reading them out of order will spoil the suspense of the preceding ones. This book was originally published in hardcover by Atheneum as Young Adult fiction, although unlike This Star Shall Abide it is rarely of interest to readers below high school age. In 2000 the entire trilogy was republished as adult science fiction in one volume, in both hardcover and softcover editions, under the title Children of the Star. Most of the reader reviews for this book appear in the listing for Children of the Star rather than here.