Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Robinson Crusoe 2244

Robinson Crusoe 2244

E. J. Robinson
For ages 13 and up
Illuminati Press, 2015   ISBN: 978-0692387306

Two hundred years ago humans, in their arrogance, brought humankind to the brink of extinction. In response to the Great Rendering, a planet-wide disaster, the people of what was once Great Britain (which is now called Isle Prime) built a new society for themselves that was based on new moral and political principals.  Thanks in part to a leadership that is strict and often cruel in its methods of governance, peace reigns on Isle Prime, and its citizens are safe from the renders, the mutated monsters that stalk the lands beyond the island’s borders.

Robinson’s father is a Tier, which means that Robinson and his siblings belongs to the most powerful and wealthy social class in the land. Robinson knows that he will be apprenticed to his father, and that he, in all likelihood will become a Tier himself in the future. His life is all planned out. What Robinson’s father does not known is that Robinson has fallen in love with Tessa, the daughter of his father’s enemy, Tier Vardan Saah, and the two young people are determined that they will be a couple, come what may.

Their education now complete, Robinson, Tessa, and their classmates attend the Naming Day Ball, where they will be named publically, become full citizens, and will accept the apprenticeships in their parents’ trade. Robinson is just about to accept his calling (or not accept it so that he can be with Tessa) when the Regent is attacked and murdered. The knife in his back bares Robinson’s family crest on its handle.

Before he has a chance to think about what has just happened Robinson’s father tells him to run. It would appear that Robinson was played by Tessa, who used him to gain information about their family, and now Tier Saah is staging a coup. Without any real warning Robinson’s world has collapsed around him. His twin siblings are hustled away to safety, his father is horribly injured during an attack on their home, and Robinson is shoved into a flyer by his former teacher and is told to “Fly as far away as you can.”

Robinson has no idea where to go. In the end he enters a series of numbers into the flyers autopilot system and he hopes for the best. The numbers were written on a paper that was hidden inside his dead mother’s locket,

Many hours later the flyer finally runs out of fuel. It crashes into the ocean not far from a landmass, and Robinson manages to get out of the machine before he drowns. Soon he finds himself in a ravaged city that is full of hungry renders. Robinson has not been taught how to survive in such a place and he has no idea how to hunt and scavenge, and how to protect himself from the renders, who come out at night, seeking live food.

Luckily for Robinson he meets a lone old man who, though he does not speak Robinson’s language, and though he is surly and often violent, ends up showing Robinson how to stay alive in their hostile environment. The two unlikely companions live together in an old library for a while and then something unexpected happens. When the moon is full a ship full of cruel “savages” arrives, and as Robinson watches they execute several people by offering them up to the renders. Robinson figures out that the old man was, at some point in time, one of the prisoners. By some miracle he managed to escape and to survive in the render infested city.

Robinson knows better than to go anywhere near the visitors, but when the ship returns some time later, and he sees that a young girl is about to be executed, he cannot stand by and do nothing. Without really knowing what he is doing he goes to the rescue, which is how, suddenly, Robinson finds himself allied to a girl who does not speak his language and who could kill him without any effort at all.

This fascinating novel takes readers into a future that is often quite terrifying. Bit by bit we find out what happened in the distant past, and what also happened in the not too distant past. We discover that events that seem random are actually not random at all. Robinson, through no fault of his own, is forced into an untenable situation, and in the process he discovers some startling things about his world and his family.