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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Sannah is a storyteller. She tells stories to her people, stories sanctioned by the government to be acceptable propaganda. Her stories are meant to educate her people into subservience. Her people are brown skinned and live in the Brown Zone. The government, the powers that be, are white. The Brown Zone is a desolate landscape where survival is a daily struggle in a land in which daylight is too dangerous and life and working hours now exist primarily at night. This is, after all, the twenty-fifth century and the planet has undergone a lot of strife: wars, global warming, all the threats that humans of the twenty-first century listened to, but only barely.
Enter Pilgrim Kaire. He's a traveler, a white traveler at that, but not from another country. Actually, he's from a sky ship, a completely different group of humans trying to survive after Planet Earth's multiple catastrophes that made life on Earth very difficult, if not impossible for many. As Sannah learns from Kaire, so too does Kaire learn from Sannah. The two evolve together in their knowledge until Sannah becomes the truthteller, and, at her final trial confesses the truth that she has learned about her planet, that "Greed, arrogance, concern for profit rather than conservation, apathy, egotism — these are some of the words my people hear in Truth-Tales."
It's a complicated story that intertwines the realities and threats of the twenty-first century, along with the ever present prejudices, with the possibilities of a future that looks even more bleak. Author Sue Parritt, in this her first book, has created a colony of storytellers and truthtellers, a parallel to life on Earth in the twenty-first century. It is a compelling tale and readers will certainly be eagerly looking forward to the sequel.