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Armstrong, Jennifer & Butcher, Nancy. The kiln.

ARMSTRONG, Jennifer & BUTCHER, Nancy. The kiln. (Fire-Us Trilogy, Book 3). HarperCollins, Eos. 244p. 0-06-447271-X. $5.99. JS*

To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2003: Following The Kindling (reviewed in KLIATT in March 2002) and The Keepers of the Flame (reviewed in November 2002), this concluding volume continues the compelling story of a small band of teenagers and children struggling to survive in a world where almost all the adults have been killed by a sudden and terrible virus (Fire-Us).

At the start of The Kiln, the group stumbles on a retirement home where some elderly women still live, cared for by a kind doctor. This is as much of a refuge as they have come across in their difficult and dangerous travels, but the teenagers are determined to press on to locate the president. If he is still alive, they want to find an answer to the mystery of the devastating virus, and to discover if he has an antidote. In the preceding volume, The Keepers of the Flame, they had narrowly escaped from a group of murderous religious fanatics living in an abandoned Florida mall, presided over by a mysterious Supreme Leader. Finding the president means confronting this group again, only to discover that the president is the Supreme Leader--and that one of the teenagers in their group is his son. The president, it emerges, was responsible for the release of the virus. He wanted to cleanse the world for a Second Coming, and he has a second vial of the virus, which he threatens to use. How can our brave gang foil his evil plans and save themselves, and the world? What kind of sacrifice will it take?

The suspense runs high in this exciting SF tale, and all the loose ends from the other books are neatly wrapped up. The fierce love the teenagers have for the children they look after is deeply moving, and the religious symbolism will appeal to thoughtful YAs. This volume doesn't stand alone, but readers of the first two titles will clamor for it. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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