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|The Search for Fierra
by Stephen R. Lawhead
Published by Lion Publishing, 1976
Suggested by: Ross Pavlac
Orion Treet, struggling freelance writer, is given an offer he can't refuse by one of the most powerful men in the known universe. A colony ship sent to the world of Empyrion hasn't been heard from since first landing, and the chairman of Cynetics wants to know what's going on. Together with trend and impact analyst Asquith Pizzle, the mysterious Yarden Talazac, and Crocker, the pilot, Treet is sent through the wormhole to Epsilon Eridani to find Empyrion and figure out what's going on there.
What they find doesn't make any sense. Instead of a small colony in the process of setting up, they find a stagnating, rigidly hierarchical society with all the earmarks of centuries of history. Is this the colony that was sent out only a few months before? Worse yet, the investigators are imprisoned upon arrival, and accused of being spies from yet another society: the Fieri.
Lawhead spins a fascinating yarn, introducing complex, multilayered societies on Earth and on Empyrion. There are questions which tease the reader, but not all of them are answered, even by the end of this volume. There is also an underlying spiritual reality, which is made vividly apparent to one of the characters. If some of the dialogue and plotting seems a bit awkward, the sheer size and scope of the story ensures that there is always something to engage the imagination. Greg Slade (February, 2007)
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