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Armstrong, Jennifer & Butcher, Nancy. The Keepers of the Flame.

The Keepers of the Flame/(Fire-us Trilogy, Book 2). HarperCollins. 224p. c2002.0-060-29412-4. $17.89. JS*

In this exciting follow-up to The Kindling (reviewed in KLIATT March 2002), the teenagers Hunter, Mommy, Teacher, and Angerman, who are trying to protect and care for six younger children in a post-apocalyptic world in which a sudden and devastating virus (Fire-us) has killed most of the population, discover a community that has survived. This group calls itself "The Keepers of the Flame," and they live in a mall in Jacksonville, Florida, raiding the stores for supplies. At first the teenagers and children are delighted to be taken in and cared for, but they soon discover that their hosts are "freaky religious wackos," and intend to subject the youngest among them, the feral 5-year-olds Puppy and Kitty, to an ominous "test." The teens and children free these little ones and escape, shortly joined by Puppy and Kitty's teenage aunt, Cory, for whom the Keepers also had menacing plans. The Keepers pursue them, but after a battle the ragged band triumphs and they continue on their journey north to try to find "President."

The action is fast and furious and the suspense never lets up in this powerful series. This second book doesn't disappoint. What a great read! Like John Marsden's Tomorrow series, the Fire-us trilogy features heroic teens struggling for survival, bravely fighting off enemies, in a world without parents--perfect fantasy stuff for many YAs readers. There are enticing mysteries here, too, like Angerman's manic rants, half-preaching, half-news casting--what makes him act so crazy?--and Teacher's treasured Book, which she consults for advice and portents. There is a layer of religious symbolism as well; for example, the children come from a town called Lazarus. The beginning may confuse readers a bit until they get into the plot, and then they won't want to put this thrilling tale down. I look forward eagerly to Book 3, The Kiln. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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