A post-apocalyptic story concerning a young man named Joshua and a young girl named Sarah who are placed in sleeper pods after at terrible war threatens to destroy all life on Earth (this was printed in 1990, probably less then a year after the fall of the Berlin wall, thus the world destroyed by Nuclear holocaust is understandable as a story element). Joshua is woken a hundred years later to a world that is nothing like the one he remembers. Bows and arrows and swords are the weapons of the time and dwarves, Giants, and other 'mythical-esque' creatures are the norm. An ancient creature named Crusoe (no word pun there *sarcasm*) has woken him and helps prepare him for a quest: to wake the Seven Sleepers (minus himself now) and help bring about the beginnings of a revolution by the House of Goél (which will be the bane of my existence in future reviews because of that e). Along the way, the travelers meet up with the bads of this world, the Sanhedrin, who chases them across the world as their time runs out to get to the final Sleepers.
This a quick, exciting read that should appeal to both boys and girls alike. The characters, even with the sheer volume of them that appears, are interesting and in most cases don't get lost in the story. Some we see longer then others, but each will shine in their own way as the series progresses. The character of Crusoe is wonderful, a classic mentor type who also understands that these are children and are struggling with the loss of their world and all those they loved. Joshua is a self-conscience, unsure young man who is thrust into a position and idea he never would have chosen for himself. While basically a good kid, he is a kid and makes mistakes. All of the characters do; they are very human and one of the strongest parts of this book. The story is a classic quest story filled with exciting near misses as well as coincidental happenings that move the plot along...except that they aren't coincidences. Goél is quite obviously Jesus (or Aslan - see below) who is gathering his people to him to battle the evil ruling the world. The Seven Sleepers are to help him, be his agents as he gathers the world together. The Sanhedrin is very stereotypically the bad, evil but there are interesting little tidbits. They have a sort of mind control and the head of them once states, "Don't you know that once in Oldworld a baby was born in a lowly place - just a common child like these - and that one child wrenched the entire world from our graps!" So clearly they are the descendents, maybe, at least spiritually of the Sanhedrin Jesus faced. The Christian message is very overt in this but I would not say it is 'preachy'. It is simply woven into the story so much that you can't separate it from the rest of the book.
There is nothing really majorly wrong with this book. It does rather ring like a lesser brother of C. S. Lewis' Narnia series, because it does many of the same things but I would argue not quite so well. That is not to say it is bad or you shouldn't read it, but one can't help but compare the two. It is also a bit dated now. Since most of it takes place in 'Nuworld' that is not a huge problem, but it shows particularly in this one because it is the first of the series and as such partly takes place in 'our' world. The threat of Nuclear Apocalypse is perhaps again starting to be relevant with the current issues facing the world, but we are simply not as steeped in it as most people would have been who read this series when it first came out. As I said, it shows mostly in this book, and is only for a couple of the first chapters.
This a solid work of children's Christian fiction. If you have issues with Christian fiction, this is probably not for you, though the story itself is very interesting and I do recommend it. While not the best piece of children's fiction I've ever read, it is engaging and well worth the quick read it is.