There Comes a Prophet

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
266 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2012
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Author Biography

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned. There Comes a Prophet is his first novel in this new stage of life.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite

Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas, best friends since childhood, live a peaceful, bucolic existence in Little Pond, a place as small as its name suggests. Their lives are simple, governed by the teachings from the Temple, and the ministrations of the Vicars and their squadron of Deacons. Hints of the past, the ‘darkness’, are resolutely squashed by the Vicars who explain that to doubt is to reject the ‘light’ of their teachings. Subsequently, the perceived ‘magical’ elements of the past are crushed in favor of so-called mystical teachings. For a thousand years, this peaceful existence continues. Nevertheless, secrets have a way of revealing themselves. Nathaniel doesn’t accept the Vicars’ teachings; he believes there is more to life. A legend exists of earlier magic, hidden away in a place called the Keep. The secret path to the Keep has been preserved by Keepers, who will pass on the clues to a group called Seekers. But of course no one dares question the Temple, until Thomas is taken away for a ‘teaching,’ and he comes back broken in mind and spirit. Seeds of rebellion grow in Nathaniel, and come to fruition when his friend Orah is taken. Determined to save her, Nathaniel ends up in the prisons of Temple City, and finds out the truth from a long-time prisoner. Armed with knowledge, he sets forth with Thomas and Orah to find the Keep. Can they survive the journey, and can they inspire their people to realize the truth behind the Temple? Will the fulfillment of their mission destroy their world?

Author David Litwack has created a believable dystopian world devoid of technology. Technology overtook humanity (perhaps a salutary lesson here?) and led to social collapse. Hints of the hideous effects of indoctrination in a totalitarian society remind us of the dangers of the suppression of knowledge. This is a coming-of-age story, a tale of friendship and loyalty, and of self-discovery and self-belief. Each of the friends discovers their own talents, and with that, their purpose in life. The author takes a philosophical approach and engages readers in ideas of freedom and choice, both personal and of thinking. This is such a well-written book, with so many thought-provoking concepts, that I am sure readers will thoroughly enjoy it and appreciate the author’s message.

Molly E.

I am not a big Science Fiction reader. I just don't get lost among the fantasy aspects of it. But, David Litwack is a highly talented author, and one who really captured my attention with this novel. It has a unique plot filled with awesome characters, and each page turn had me hanging on to something new, dying to know what would happen next. Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas are three uniquely created characters who quickly work their way into the reader's heart. These three friends are on a mission to find puzzle pieces to a past that will forever change their lives. Vicars and wizards and ancient prophecies make up the plot line that these three friends are encompassed in. Litwack takes the reader on an adventurous, suspense ride of ups, downs, ins and outs as Orah, Nathaniel and Thomas set out to find their true selves and the place of the Keep all the while trying to keep their world in line.

Though not generally a huge fan of Sci-Fi novels, I can truly admit that this one was fantastic. This book is a wonderful novel to read if you enjoy books that grab your attention quickly. It is a fast-paced novel that will never leave you, always calling you back when you have got other things to do. I had this book finished in less than 3 days and will be looking for more 5 star work by this amazingly talented author. I have just become a permanent fan of David Litwack. Bring on the next!

Jean Brickell

"There Comes a Prophet" by David Litwack, seems at first to be about some time in the past, in a small village called Little Pond. It is a quiet village where all food, clothing and footwear are made by hand. We see Nathanial, Orah, and Thomas, three friends since early childhood. As the story unfolds, we are led to believe this is not the past but the future where all is governed by the Vicars and kept under tight control to prevent anyone from knowing about the past and the industrialized world that came before.

Nathanial, Orah, and Thomas have been fast friends from early childhood on and they have decided to go on a quest to find out what has been hidden from the people in the small village of Little Pond. They rebel against the governing body of Vicars that want to maintain the status quo. Nathanial is given the scroll that points him to make a dramatic discovery and he and his friends start off on the journey that could possibly change everything. They are followed by the Vicars but they try to elude them. They are helped by a few people who know about the journey that is the young people's desperate quest. You will enjoy "There Comes a Prophet" by David Litwack, as you follow the young friends and discover the 'Keep' and what lies behind the walls there.

Author David Litwack has created a vivid world and a great adventure that transports the reader far into a fascinating future.

Stephanie D.

"There Comes a Prophet" by David Litwack is a superb fantasy novel. It is set in a puritanical world where politically motivated religion holds sway. Music and honey are among things that are frowned upon, and certainly free thought and innovation. The menacing vicars rule by terror and brainwashing. It is a world of light versus the darkness too. The vicars supposedly represent light and are protecting the people from the darkness, but maybe that is not the truth. The story has great protagonists in the form of Orah, Nathaniel and Thomas, the only three of their age group. One of them has to be selected at the so-called blessing to receive the Teaching by the vicars in Temple City. But people come back broken with their dreams ripped away. It turns out they have to betray someone in order to be allowed to leave during this barbaric method of indoctrination. But there could be a way out, although not much time is left. Our three heroes become seekers, searching for the keepers and the magical keep that is their only salvation.

This is a typical fantasy with its journeys, both physical and spiritual, the elements of magic and the ultimate fight of good versus evil, which here is both light versus darkness and the old ways versus the new dictatorial ways. Untypical is the clear anti-bigotry message this book carries and the illustration of how power corrupts. Presumably the vicars only wanted the best for the people to start with but it all got out of control. There are many layers to this excellent, unique novel, which is enthralling and exciting and a must read.

Alice D.

Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas have been friends forever in the town of Little Pond. But Orah tells Nathaniel not to go to the town's festival. She fears he may be taken by the vicars at the Temple City for "teaching" which means being put in a small box and then being brainwashed into believing in the Temple of Light and denying the darkness of times long ago. Instead, Thomas is taken as the candidate for "teaching". When he returns to Little Pond, he takes a long time to return to his former self as he has been told to stone to death anyone who favors the darkness, the time long ago when people spoke different languages and worshiped different gods. Orah is then taken by the vicars but Nathaniel offers himself in her stead and is thrown into prison next to an old man, Samuel, the original keeper who slips Nathaniel a magic piece of paper that, over candlelight, reveals towns to seek, people who will help, and rhymes that will lead to "the keep" which will restore the world to its former greatness and knowledge of astronomy, history and subjects no longer understood. Orah, Nathaniel and Thomas slip away, cautiously avoiding Temple of Light scouts who pursue them. The three friends are now "seekers" but can they diminish the hold over people and their minds by the Temple of Light and its vicars?

"There Comes a Prophet" is well-written science fiction that creates a world where mind control reigns supreme following a time when people fought each other, using chemical weapons and focusing on their hatred of each other's differences. On page 210, Author David Litwak writes a word of warning: "You should not be so seduced by your mission that you forget to live." The story follows the prescribed path of all good science fiction: the heroes go on a quest that requires surmounting great obstacles. "There Comes a Prophet" is highly recommended reading for all science fiction fans everywhere.