Friday, September 21, 2012

Search for Fierra

I have just finished reading The Search for Fierra, the first book of the two-part Empryion series, by author Stephen Lawhead. My biggest issue with this science fiction yarn was the lack of sufficient development of the main characters. Lawhead typically has a deft touch when crafting backstories and personalities, a part of the author's craft that is essential so that the inter-relationships of the characters and their actions are fully motivated and, ultimately, appreciated. It is this development that leads to "real" people that fully engage you into the narrative and the setting. I think that Lawhead fell noticeably short of the high standard that he typically achieves in this regard. But with this stated, I still very much enjoyed this tale.

The story involves a historian named Orion Treet who is recruited by the chairman of the Cynetics corporation to travel to a distant outpost that has been established on a planet called Empryion. The reasons why Orion is so sought after for this trip and why a colony on a planet some 10 light years from Earth would make any fiscal sense for a private corporation is never fully made clear. Ultimately, we learn that contact with the outpost was lost very shortly after the settlers landed and that the discovery of an apparently unstable wormhole by the Cynetics folks is what makes the trip possible in a finite time period.

Upon passage through the wormhole, the small ship with its captain and three passengers lands on the planet. To their great surprise, they find a vast domed city that could not have been erected by the settlers in the short period of time that they had allegedly been on Empryion. However, the people that they encounter are clearly humans, yet their history extends back over three thousand years. Furthermore, the travelers are treated as dangerous spies from a land called Fierra that most folks believe to be the stuff of legends. The appearance of the outsiders and their clearly advanced spaceship, causes the leadership of Dome to believe that the Fieri have developed new technology that will lead to their destruction. In the frenzied environment of paranoia, the travelers flee Dome and cross a vast desert in search of the fabled city of Fierra. Their mission is not just to seek sanctuary, but to seek help to save all of Empryion. Now, onto the finale, The Siege of Dome.