Book Review: There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack

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There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack
Publication date: July 9th 2012
by Double Dragon Publishing
Genre: YA Dystopian
 
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There Comes a ProphetThere Comes a Prophet
David Litwack
Double Dragon Publishing, July 2012
ISBN 978-1-55404-996-7
Ebook
ISBN 978-1-77115-014-9
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Who among us will cast aside a comfortable existence and risk death to follow a dream?

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.”

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High fantasy, the kind with a quest, is not on my list of things I really like to read and, yet, here I am, about to share my thoughts on There Comes a Prophet. Is it high fantasy? No, not at all, but it is most certainly a quest. This quest takes three teens on a search for humanity’s past which should have been its present and future. For about a thousand years, people have lived in the modern version of the Dark Ages, and have lost all curiosity, all interest in developing technology, all inclination to dream of what might lie beyond. Much of this has been perpetuated by the ruling class of vicars who suppress all independent thought and behavior. Interestingly, this is not really religious tyranny so much as the evolution of, well, I’ll say no more about that for fear of spoilers.

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—

Nathaniel…ineffectual

Orah…bitchy

Thomas…whiny

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.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2013.

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AUTHOR BIO
David LitwackThe 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 David Litwack 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.

Author Links:
David’s Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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