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Children of the Star [Paperback]

Sylvia Engdahl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Price: 10.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 April 2012
Back in print! One-volume edition of the trilogy including the three novels This Star Shall Abide (known in the UK as Heritage of the Star), Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains, and The Doors of the Universe.

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 he had always 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 promised that someday knowledge and Machines would be available to everyone. Noren was a heretic. He defied the High Law and had no faith in the Prophecy's fulfillment. But 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. It would take more drastic steps than anyone imagined to restore their rightful heritage.

Although these three novels were originally published as Young Adult books, the second and third are primarily of interest to older teens and adults; the omnibus edition has therefore been issued as adult science fiction.

Product details

  • Paperback: 644 pages
  • Publisher: Ad Stellae Books (6 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615625231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615625232
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,366,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sylvia Engdahl is the author of nine science fiction novels, six of which are Young Adult novels that are also enjoyed by adults. The one for which she is best known, "Enchantress from the Stars," was a Newbery Honor book, winner of the 1990 Phoenix Award of the Children's Literature Association, and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. Her three latest novels, the trilogy "Stewards of the Flame," "Promise of the Flame," and "Defender of the Flame," are for adults. Recently, she has published an updated and expanded edition of her nonfiction book "The Planet-Girded Suns," first published in 1974 with the subtitle "Man's View of Other Solar Systems" and now subtitled "The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds." She is a strong advocate of space colonization and has maintained a widely-read space section of her website for many years. She also created the site, which contains quotations about why humankind must expand into space. From her home in Eugene, Oregon she now works as a freelance editor of nonfiction anthologies for high schools. She welcomes visitors to her website at

Product Description

From the Author

CHILDREN OF THE STAR is an omnibus edition of my science fiction trilogy THIS STAR SHALL ABIDE (published in the UK as HERITAGE OF THE STAR), BEYOND THE TOMORROW MOUNTAINS and THE DOORS OF THE UNIVERSE. Though the separate novels were originally published as teen books, the new edition has been issued as adult SF; it's of greatest interest to adults and older teenagers. For more information and a FAQ page about the story, please visit my website. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sylvia Engdahl is best known as the author of highly-acclaimed Young Adult novels, one of which was a Newbery Honor book and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. However, her Children of the Star trilogy , originally written for teens, was republished as adult SF, and she has written two adult novels. Although all her fiction takes place in the distant future on hypothetical worlds and thus is categorized as science fiction, it is directed more to mainstream readers than to avid science fiction fans and is enjoyed by a wider audience than seekers of the genre.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome end to a long-loved story 2 Oct 2002
I bought "Heritage of the Star" (UK title) when I was 11, more or less at random from the Puffin Book Club, and it remained my favourite book for years and was lent to everyone I know. It was one of the first science fiction books I had ever read that made me THINK (and wasn't just Boys Stuff in Space), and its outcome surprised and amazed me. It had never occurred to me that there could be sequels, so I was delighted to find this trilogy at Amazon and finally read the rest of the story. Science (and Science Fiction) may have moved on, but this remains one of the best stories for teenagers (and everyone else) I've ever read; it deserves a much higher profile - buy it for yourself and every young person you know who likes to daydream and think about the bigger things in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Memorable Books of My Childhood 15 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a trilogy published as a single volume, consisting of "The Star Shall Abide", "Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains" and "The Door to the Universe". I read the original first book under the title "Heritage of the Star" - that was how it was published in the UK, and its sequel was never published here. I had no idea there were sequels of this, one of the most memorable books I read in childhood, until I discovered the author on the web. I quickly ordered this book, because Heritage of the Star was such a profound work that I have never forgotten it and often wished I could read more like it.

The trilogy does not disappoint. I knew the first book well (I re-read it at least twice in the past). That follows a young man who becomes a heretic for challenging the religion of the mysterious scholars who rule their world. The first part of the book follows his scepticism and attempts to persuade others. The second part is all about enlightenment (and I will say no more to avoid spoilers).

The second book of the trilogy was supposed to complete the story originally, but it feels vey much like a link book. It seems to me that it asks more questions than it resolves, and frankly I see why this was not published originally in the UK. Nevertheless it is a vital key to the third book - which only cam about some years later as real world science set the author thinking in a most interesting and, indeed, compelling way. The third book is easily the equal of the first, and looks at all kinds of issues around the struggle for a race of people to survive.

These books only show their age in a few minor and forgivable ways.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Science Fiction for teenagers 17 May 2010
I agree with the previous contributors. I read "Heritage of the Star" book originally as a teenager and thought it was one of the best sci-fi books for young adults that I'd read. I sympathised easily with the broody charecter of Noren who wanted answers to questions about the mysterious "high priests" on the desert world that he and the community he was from inhabited. Inevitably there is a conflict between Noren's need to know and the nature of the "religion" to maintain a secrecy about its inner workings which forms the background to the story.

I had no idea there was sequels until recently and intend to catch up with the rest of the story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and deeply moving 16 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I first read "This Star Shall Abide" while in high school, and was stirred by the powerful and profound questions posed by this book, its psychological and moral depth, and its ability to create a consistent world that's very different from our own. I found out a few years ago that there were more books in the series, but wasn't able to track them down, as they were out of print. But finally I've been able to read Ms. Engdahl's full series, and the wait was worth it. The second and third books in this volume surpass the first -- they raise issues of faith and perseverance, self-sacrifice, vision and hope. This new omnibus edition is essential reading not only for science-fiction fans, but for anyone who's thought seriously about ecological issues, the future of humanity, hope, faith or courage. Most highly recommended!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How did this fall out of print? 31 May 2001
By E. A Solinas - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As evidenced by masters such as Patricia McKillip, often worthy and original fantasies slip out of print under the wave of Tolkien ripoffs. Sylvia Engdahl's books are in that class, and thank God Meisha Merlin is reprinting them! May they keep on doing so.
The main character is Noren, a guy who knows that the world is unjust. The Scholars and Technicians are the only people allowed to use machinery and metals, and enter the City (which, of course, he also craves to enter). They also control the knowledge meted out to the lower caste systems, into which you are born and can never hope to rise from.
The High Law is why these rules are there, but a prophecy promises that knowledge and machinery will be accessible to everyone, not just the Scholars. Noren, however, doesn't care about High Law or the Prophecy, believing that High Law is simply oppression and the Prophecy untrue. But freeing his people to equality will be a strange and hard task...
Once again, Engdahl creates a believable and thought-provoking piece of SF/fantasy that doesn't fall to the usual ray-guns-or-dragons cliches. The questions raised about freedom in this book kept making me pause in the middle of a page, thinking deeply about what was being shown in the story. For fans of action: There isn't much. For fans of originality/intelligence: There's plenty.
Noren, the idealistic rebel, is a particularly endearing character. Like the characters in "Enchantress from the Stars" he is complex and multifaceted, and grows as characters should through his trials. His relentless search for truth is fascinating to the reader, and there are entire pages where you may forget you are reading a story.
Faith, truth, and knowledge are the cornerstones of this book, in my eyes. Yet they are not heavy-handed in their presentation, rather they are subtlely woven into the plot. Engdahl's writing style is, if possible, even more captivating than in "Enchantress," descriptive without getting too overwordy.
I'm not certain if this will appeal to the younger readers of "Enchantress," as this has topics in it that may bore them. (If your kids have read Tolkien, though, they will like this). I recommend it to fans of Tolkien, Lewis, McKillip, and readers of "Enchantress" who can appreciate this multilayered tale.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot recommend this highly enough! 24 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I first read "This Star Shall Abide" when I was 11 or 12, but it wasn't until I was 26 that I managed to locate and read "Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains" and "The Doors of the Universe." The rerelease of all three books in a single omnibus edition is fantastic news for anyone interested in intelligent science fiction. The narrative follows one enormously sympathetic character who is notable for his overriding, unflinching honesty. As a young man, he gradually comes to resist the limitations of the caste system into which he has been born-- but this is just the beginning of a long and tortuous road to maturity. The other characters whom he encounters along the way, while rather modest in number, are also memorably and movingly drawn. Ms. Engdahl's work does not rely on flashy technology, kooky aliens, or gory battles to keep her reader's interest. Instead, she has conceived a world where abstract issues of faith, truth, knowledge, love, loyalty, and obligation have uniformly concrete consequences for its people's continued existence. To have such high stakes riding on individuals' morality and resourcefulness is what makes this such a gripping read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Star Shall Abide -- Welcome back to a long out of print book! 2 Sep 2005
By P. Ota - Published on
Noren is a young man who is frustrated about the class stratified society that he lives in. When he decides to challenge the system, he finds himself on a perilous journey . . . facing truth as he has never imagined. When I read this story many years ago in junior high, I realized for the first time that it was possible to have a perspective on life that did not encompass a large enough view of the truth. This story challenged my views on the limitations of my own perspectives. It is science fiction at its best. This book is a compilation of the trilogy that begins with "This Star Shall Abide".
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this book was formative in my life 24 Feb 2001
By orna - Published on
The first book in this trilogy, This Star Shall Abide, literally helped determine the course of my life. It took years before I realized I was following a similar course to that of its main character, a course I first read of when I was in about fifth grade. The main character, Noren, is unflinching in his search for Truth with a capital T, a search that demands that he face the hardest of questions and challenge the heirarchical status quo of the world he was born into.
You don't have to like or even be interested in science fiction to love this story. It's about the highest strivings of the best of humans. It's a terrific model in many ways for the right way of approaching the world. It's smart, it's cleverly constructed, and it's challenging.
The second book I find a little thinner in its reverberations in my life, although my personal struggles -- which on the second book's subject also mirror the main character's -- have led me to essentially the same conclusions. The story grows richer each time I reread it.
I only found out today that there WAS a third installment in the saga. I look forward to reading it.
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