The Story in the Stars, by Yvonne Anderson (Risen Books, 2011)
In a universe where beings from various planets live in peace under the unifying authority of the League of Worlds, one planet stands apart. Gannah: the very name brings fear and memories of the Gannahans’ failed attempt at interstellar domination.
The Story in the Stars throws together two unlikely characters: Dassa, last survivor of the planet Gannah, and Pik, the doctor who saved her life. Pik’s native planet, Karkar, was conquered by the Gannahans before scientists developed the plague that forced them to retreat.
Dassa and Pik make an interesting study in contrasts, and as the novel progresses each discovers her/himself to be more like the other than they’d like to admit. Dassa is a warrior; Pik is an intellectual. She’s comfortable with her emotions; he’s bound by logic and appearances. She can survive in the wilderness; at the start of the novel, he’s never been outside a domed city except when in space.
Dassa’s people follow the Christian faith, in a universe where proselytizing is a punishable offense. Dassa’s personal relationship with God (she calls Him Yasha) allows her to hear His voice in her spirit.
Doctor Pik, on the other hand, has no use for delusions of faith. He’s as obnoxious and superior as they come. Yet she begins to sense that God wants to unite them.
Dassa tells Pik that every planet’s early constellations, and the legends that go with them, give a version of the same story: “a virgin birth and a saviour dying on a cross and a wicked serpent and a great war.” (p.140) The Gannahans know this God, and despite being the last of her people, she’s determined to share Him with the universe.
I really enjoyed this novel. The sharp cultural contrasts and the faith elements reminded me of Kathy Tyers’ Firebird. I’ll definitely be watching for the sequel. Click here to learn more about the Gateway to Gannah series.