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Perry, Anne. Tathea.

Berkley, Ace. 522p. c1999. 0-441-00970-0. $14.95. SA

Tathea is the educated wife of a ruler in ancient times, leading an elegant genteel life until the people of the kingdom rise up one night to slaughter the royal family, including her four-year-old son. In the midst of her hurried rescue by a palace guard, she is poignant in her shock--she had no idea they were so hated. Escaping into the desert, she begins a search to discover why things happen the way they do. Her discoveries are told in little vignettes in stage-like settings. In each one, an antagonistic situation is set up, such as traveling with warriors through a snowy landscape to recover a kidnapped girl; the moral aspects are presented and discussed; Tathea renders her opinion; and then the correct solution is spelled out.

The issues are basic: the perils of someone choosing personal power over the good of the community; suffering in order to develop empathy and compassion; seeking long-term spiritual goals over short-term physical ones, and so on. The stories read like a standard Bible tract; even the settings are reminiscent of Old Testament deserts, stone cities and sailing vessels. The Evil One makes appearances in various forms to distract Tathea from her path, and she is helped along her way by a mysterious angel who gives inspirational speeches on free will being necessary for progress even when it leads to disastrous decisions. Tathea locates the Book of God and goes out to spread the word that love and forgiveness are the answers. People she meets are changed in differing ways by the Book, and she perseveres in bringing the light of God to everyone.

The Book itself and all its declarations are included for those who are interested in the practical application of the concepts. Having read a great deal of varied religious material and been involved in churches for years, I can see where this material might be comforting to many, and come as revelations to young people new to philosophical and theological discussion. The ideas are good ones for consideration, presented in flowing story fashion, although the antique setting and formal speeches may be too remote for younger readers. Liz LaValley, Independent Reviewer, Mattapoisett, MA
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Author:LaValley, Liz
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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