Author: Sigmund Brouwer
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Imagine an America where fear, desperation, and greed rule as individuals fight for their lives, for their very survival. Where water has replaced oil as a high-priced luxury, leaving Canada as the new Saudi Arabia and America a poverty-stricken dust bowl. Welcome to the world of Sigmund Brouwer’s latest novel, Flight of Shadows.
Set in the near-future (a mere generation or two), Flight of Shadows is a science fiction novel depicting a dystopic society previously known as the United States of America. Natural disaster brought about drastic political and social changes, dividing the area into three distinct categories: Appalachia, a theoracy run by religious fanatics in which individuals are guaranteed safety in exchange for relinquishing most freedoms; the Outside, a series of walled cities in which lifestyles are dictated by which social class you belong to; and undeveloped land which supposedly exists in the far west.
As the sequel to Broken Angel, which was set primarily in Appalachia and brought forth a string of questions regarding organized religion, Flight of the Shadows focuses on the Outside, providing strong social commentary on the relationship between the government and society while examining the fine line of morality and truth.
A good work of Christian speculative fiction is rare—even more rare is one that stays in your mind for days after you finish reading. I couldn’t put this book down! Initially, I was a little discouraged because I couldn’t bridge the gaps between chapters—it felt as though the author had left out huge chunks of pertinent information. After the first six chapters (about 30 pages), I began to feel more comfortable recognizing characters and keeping track of the story line. Though the chapters were a little short for my taste, each contained scenes of such high intensity that I never felt disappointed. I could go on about the wonderful technical aspects of this book—strong characters, vivid descriptions, and smooth language that flowed right off the page.
Like any book, however, there were a few areas of disappointment. My first concern is superficial, but I have to note that the visual appeal of the text is low—the font is extremely small with very tight spacing. Not ideal for reading for long periods of time. My second concern lies in the categorizing of this novel with other Christian titles—I frequently found myself wondering when the connection between the main issues of the novel would be connected to the idea of faith and God. Perhaps my expectations were misguided by an error of focus.
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this book. Though the theme I wanted explored most was barely touched on, there were more than enough points made that brought up thought provoking questions about humanity and survival with no easy answers in sight. Every few pages I found myself stopping to think about the world as I know it and wondering what steps would need to be taken to prevent it from coming into existence. My thoughts frequently circle the current issues in the US and more often than not, I find myself complaining about the current state of the nation. This novel opened my eyes to the very real possibility of the world presented in Flight of Shadows coming into being and made me step back and realize that while there is always room for improvement, there is certainly a lot of room left for things to take a turn for the worse.