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Keeper of the Universe Hardcover – April 20, 1993
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-12-- Christopher is an English teenager on board a flight to Athens, heading for a hotel job that he hopes will help him escape the tedium of school and family. A sudden explosion cuts the flight short; he wakes up some time later in a barren room within a strange castle, accompanied only by a barbarian queen and the Erg Unit, an introspective and occasionally too conscientious robot. Christopher gradually learns that Ben-Harran, the owner of the castle, is one of a race of Galactic Controllers, highly evolved beings who have taken on responsibility for maintaining peace and harmony throughout the known universe. Ben-Harran is responsible for the galaxy that includes Earth, and is presently in deep trouble with the rest of the Council for his refusal to use the Overseers and mind-control methods that guarantee peace. Because his insistence on free will allows his "subjects" to determine their own fates, Ben-Harran's foes are holding him responsible for the deaths of all the inhabitants of Zeeda, an Earthlike planet recently wiped out in a self-induced conflagration of total warfare. Christopher's role in this drama is to be an exhibition of the evolution of free will. He accepts his relocation with apparent ease, and goes on to demonstrate a remarkably sophisticated level of reasoning for the rebellious teenager introduced at the beginning of the story. This classic theme--free will v. outside control--has been explored with similar results in many other novels, all of which come out on the side of free will. In this novel, though, Lawrence seems to be reconsidering the worth and the promise of life on Earth relative to the galaxies. The plot exists only because of the theme, with all of the action and character development directly related to it, resulting in a more speculative, philosphical novel for thoughtful readers who want more than action from a story. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Galactic Overseer Ben-Harran brings together restless earthling Christopher and warrior queen Mahri from worlds in his galaxy; and, from a realm controlled by his enemies, Kysha, who is at first appalled by the vicious Mahri but is soon convinced that freedom is better than the passive obedience she's always known. Christopher, whose planet is on the edge of nuclear immolation, is less sure. Ben-Harran, fallen angel of the High Council, believes in nonintervention and even allows one of his worlds to self-destruct. In the end, he is exiled, followed by his three converts and two like-minded robots. This talky, didactic book is obsessed with the evils of authority; it's more polemic than science fiction. Despotic politicians taking advantage of human frailty to impose control do merit censure, while reminders that imagination must not be fettered are always in order, but this heavy-handed, unimaginative book works against itself--an example of what it cautions against. Thin ideas, thick prose. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.