Defender of the Flame

Rated 4.75/5 based on 4 reviews
Starship pilot Terry Radnor, involved in a secret mission after training that gives him extraordinary physical and psychic capabilities, finds fulfillment in love and in commitment to a cause—until an ironic twist of fate tears him away from everything he has ever cared about. Is there any hope that he can fulfill his pledge to protect the world whose safety is crucial to the future of humankind? More

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Published by Ad Stellae Books
Words: 146,440
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301734665
About Sylvia Engdahl

Sylvia Engdahl is best known as the author of highly-acclaimed Young Adult novels that are also enjoyed by adults, one of which was a Newbery Honor book and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. However, her Children of the Star trilogy, originally written for teens, was republished as adult SF, and she is now writing only fiction for adults. The first novel in her two Flame series, "Stewards of the Flame," was the winner of a bronze medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards. Although all her novels take place in the distant future on hypothetical worlds and thus are categorized as science fiction, they are character-driven and are directed more to mainstream readers than to avid science fiction fans.

Engdahl is a strong advocate of space colonization and has maintained a widely-read space section of her website for many years. She has also recently issued an updated edition of her 1974 nonfiction book "The Planet-Girded Suns: The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds," which is focused on original research in primary sources of the 17th through early 20th centuries; this new edition includes an Afterword titled "Confronting the Universe in the Twenty-First Century."

She lives in Eugene, Oregon, and currently works as a freelance editor of nonfiction anthologies for high schools.

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Reviews

Review by: Anabella Johnson on June 17, 2014 :
What a wonderful book! “Defenders of the Flame” by Sylvia Engdahl was such an unexpected treat! I read quite a bit of fantasy and Science-Fiction so I’m familiar with many common themes and elements. Occasionally I run across an author who has the confidence and intelligence to write something a little more outside the box and feel original in a cluttered field of copies. Ms. Engdahl writes in a way that is a fabulous combination of complex, yet easy to follow; highly creative, yet totally believable; familiar, yet fresh. It’s a potent mix and rare to find. Although I do believe that this book works well as a standalone, it made me curious about the other books and events preceding it, so now I want to read those as well. But having this be the first book I’ve read in this series from her, I can say that I never felt lost or confused, and I thought the author created a very rich and fully-realized world. Some of the secondary characters fell a bit flat, but they served their purpose. One thing I really appreciated was the author’s skillful world-building that occurred naturally and organically instead of a big “telling info-dump” that is all too common amongst lesser writers. (Like how horseback riding was an ancient times activity, haha). I really loved some of the ideas and concepts presented in this book, and even the most finicky of SciFi enthusiasts are sure to find something they love here. Highly recommend.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Claire Middleton on June 13, 2014 :
You know right from the opening pages that this isn’t some mindless rehash of the same ol’ same ol’. We jump right into the action (the author handles any “housekeeping” in the preface) and pulls you right in. I’m not one for rehashing the plots in reviews (that’s what the book description is for), but I can say that the blurb doesn’t do it justice! This is one of those books (or series) that you really have to read in order to appreciate the complexity and depth of the world this author created. For the most part it was quite fast-paced (although sometimes a bit TOO fast for my liking… huge chunks of time or important events were quickly glossed over) and the dialogue was believable (not contrived or stiff). There were some minor editing things, and it could have benefitted from the use of more contractions to smooth it out some, but nothing that deterred my enjoyment any. Overall it felt very polished and professional. There is great tension and conflict (both internal and external) which compels us the readers along and keeps us invested in the outcome. The ending is satisfactory and fulfilling, yet leaves the door open for future installments. I do not think fans of Sci-Fi adventure will be at all disappointed and I highly encourage you to give this one a try!!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Stacy Decker on June 10, 2014 :
"Defenders of the Flame” is the first novel I’ve read from this author, Sylvia Engdahl, but now that I have, I’m really interested in reading more from her. This book was so good!!! I always find SciFi novels to be a bit of a mixed bag, with most of them recycle the same tired, overused plot clichés, while a few branch out with fresh new ideas and original thinking. Fortunately for me this novel was the latter, and I was impressed with the quality of writing. Then I found out the author has quite a body of work, and it is evident that she has really honed her craft. I love the universe Ms. Engdahl created and the descriptions were amazing, like we were really there in the story or watching a movie play out (now there’s an idea!) At the end she mentions how this was technically supposed to wrap up a series, however it works great as a standalone and I will check out her other books now.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Karen Matthews on June 08, 2014 :
I always wonder what I’m getting into when reading a book from an author who is unknown to me. While I do enjoy discovering new talent, more often than not I feel somewhat disappointed or let down afterwards. I’ve been away from the science fiction genre for a while but decided to give this book a shot as the premise sounded interesting and there were some very positive reviews. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed at all! In fact, it was the opposite! I was so pleased that this is one of those books that doesn’t just ‘tell a story’, but really makes you think…the author (and characters) ask a lot of questions and raises possibilities that expand your mind and broaden your way of thinking all while telling a great story that entertains for hours. Sylvia Engdahl skillfully creates a deep level of believability in an unbelievable world, and as someone who has read many less-than-stellar Sci-fi books in the past, I must say this is the mark of a skilled writer. I do hope the author continues on with this series and I will be reading the other two books in this series shortly.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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