Stewards of the Flame – A Book Review

2 Oct

stewards-new-framedI love reading and so any time I’m able to review new novels, I get very excited and immediately delve into them. And when I learned that I was able to review a scifi novel, I was extremely excited. See, one thing that I learned in college was that writing scifi is extremely difficult. Coming up with a whole new world is actually one of the most difficult things that you can do as a writer.

The tale of Stewards of the Flame is a scifi story like none I’ve ever read. The tale starts with Jesse Sanders, a captain of a transport starship. The story starts when he wakes up in a hospital and is accused of being an alcoholic. The country does not allow anyone to be physically ill, and so they attempt to treat him for alcoholism, even though he is not an alcoholic. During his time in the hospital he meets Carla, an assistant to one of the head psychologists at the hospital. She eventually sneaks him out of the hospital and it is there that the story truly begins.

It turns out that Jesse has landed in a country that is controlled by the hospital. They control everything, including ensuring that the people in the country eat healthy meals and even going so far as to make sure that they do not die, by placing them in stasis units and keeping them on continual, unending life support.

Jesse becomes embroiled in a revolution against the hospital/government and learns that Carla, as well as many others, are connected by a supernatural bond that they share. They’re able to control their bodies thoroughly with their minds, including avoiding pain.

The reader gets to follow along with Jesse as he discovers all about this strange world and the revolution, and as he finally learns that having something to stand up for is what makes life worth while.

How did it read? Honestly, it went a little fast. There is tons of dialogue, and while I’m normally a huge fan of dialogue, this one seemed to rush a bit, as though there were too much information to get into the almost 500 pages. But while the book moved quickly, it was the idea behind the story that intrigued me and made me truly think.

I’ve honestly never read a scifi book that made me think has much as this one did, and I found that I started to wonder if it truly was possible to control the pain you feel simply through having great mind control. My tooth was aching due to a problem I’m having with it and I actually tried to focus on not thinking about the pain. To my surprise, it actually worked to some degree. Although I don’t think that I’m ready to join the revolutionary movement just yet.

This is one story that truly surprised me. It was engaging (even though it did go a little too fast) and was fun to read. It made me think and there was a bonus of a wonderful love story between Jesse and Carla. My verdict? Definitely a great book for anyone to enjoy, even those who aren’t huge scifi fans.


2 Responses to “Stewards of the Flame – A Book Review”

  1. Sylvia Engdahl October 14, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    Thank you so much for your review. I’m happy that you liked the book! And I’m glad that you thought it went fast, because what I hear from science fiction fans with a lot of background in the genre is that it’s too slow-paced! (That’s why I had to publish it myself despite having had many books published in the past.) But I wanted say enough to make it clear to people who aren’t specialists in the genre, even if it slowed it down for those who are.

    The control of pain as I suggested it might be learned in the distant future is not possible today, at least not to the degree portrayed in the story. But after I had written it, I learned that there have been recent experiments in teaching people to reduce pain through feedback from brain scanning, just as I imagined except that today’s scanners are too large to make it practical. There are news reports on this, and a video clip, in the “background information” section of



  1. Pump Up Your Book Promotion’s October Authors on Virtual Book Tour – Day 19 « Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours - October 30, 2009

    […] fiction novel, Stewards of the Flame (Ad Stellae Books , August ‘09), will be stopping off at If You Can’t…! When burned-out starship captain Jesse Sanders is seized by a dictatorial medical regime and […]

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