After a thousand years of war, the Mishnese and Karupta have made peace by wedding the Mishnese Princess Royal to the Karupta Crown Prince. Their son whose birth was foretold ten centuries ago is destined to rule the entire planet and end the wars forever. But the Princess and the baby have died during childbirth or so it was said. In the meantime, a strange half-breed infant boy is left at an orphanage with a purse full of gold coins. The Boy who Lit up the Sky follows the early years of Senya from the streets of Old Mishnah, to the Palace of Mishnah and from there to Karuptani where he is taught to live off the land and fight for that which is his. Along the way, he finds the Human girl who unbeknownst to her, shares his important destiny.
"What have you got there?" I asked Sister Moon.
"A pot of gold," she cackled holding up a little purse and shaking it. It jingled with heavy coins.
"No," I said reaching for the baby in her arms. "Who is this?"
"A Karut." She easily relinquished him to me. I peeled back the blanket and looked at the little face.
"Aren't you pretty?" I stroked the soft cheek. "You're sure he's a Karut? He's so pale."
"Maybe he's a half-breed," she replied already counting the coins. "So many good Mishnese girls giving themselves to Karut men after poor Lydia was forced to do it. I suspect we'll be getting a lot more just like him."
"Maybe," I agreed stroking the baby's tuff of silky black hair. "He's sweet all the same. Does he have a name?"
"Senya," I repeated.
"Now don't you go taking special heart to this little rat," Sister Moon scolded me as she tossed the coins back in the purse. "The same will happen to him as the rest of them."
"Maybe he'll get adopted by a nice family," I said wistfully. "Look what long eyelashes he has."
"Nobody will want a Karut," she snorted. "He'll be here with the rest of the nasties until he runs off and gets himself killed on the street. Get yourself back to work now. Put the baby in the baby room and go check the one year olds' buckets."
"Yes Ma'am." The baby put his little fist in his mouth. "Can I give him a bottle first? He's hungry."
Sister Moon shrugged. "Be quick about it."
"Thank you Ma'am," I curtseyed and hurried the baby to the baby room where I could get a bottle out of the warmer and sit for a moment before I had to dump all the potty buckets. Twice daily I must circle through the one year olds' room here in the Old Mishnah Orphan Home where twenty babies sat naked in chairs, eating, sleeping and pooping at will. I spent about two minutes with each of them, wiping them hopefully before they broke out in rash, putting ointment on their rashes and hugging them all for just a moment before I must put them back down and move on to the next. By the time they graduated on to the two year old room, they were allowed to wear pants and shirts, sleep on cots and eat at small tables. If they messed their pants for whatever reason, they were sent back to the one year old room for a day which was such a punishment that rarely would they mess again.
The baby room was my favorite place though. It was quiet and warm in there and I could sit in a rocker and cuddle as many little bundles as I had time for. The older ones stood in their cribs and waved to me as I came in. Some babbled out a few nonsense sounds and some smiled showing me two or four tiny teeth.
"Hello babies," I called to them.
"Hello Meri," Sister Lena called back. She was in a rocker with one of the few little girls we had. Most of our children were boys. I don't know why they were abandoned more often than girls. Girls could be put to work, I supposed. Certainly our girls unless they were rescued before age seven or eight, would be put to work earning their keep.
"Who have you got there?" Lena asked.
"A new one," I replied grabbing a bottle and settling down next to her. "This is Senya."
"A Karut," she gasped with surprise. The baby she was holding stopped sucking and looked at her for a moment.
"Yes, but he's pretty isn't he," I said offering him the bottle. He sucked it greedily and patted it with his hand.
"I wonder why the Karuts didnít take him." Lena peered at him through her bottle thick glasses.
"Sister Moon thinks his mum was Mishnese. Was your mum Mishnese, Senya?" I teased. The baby smiled with the nipple still in his mouth.
"He says yes." I laughed as he sucked fiercely once again.
"He is beautiful," Lena agreed. "What color are his eyes?"
'I don't know. Open your eyes, baby. Let me see your pretty eyes."
The baby opened his eyes as if he understood me and Blessed Saint, I nearly dropped him. His eyes were silver, like swirly specks of silver light.
"Blessed Saint," Lena cried upsetting her baby who howled in protest.
Senya closed his eyes again as if he knew this is what caused us fright. He finished his bottle and sucked air until I wrestled the bottle from his mouth and held him against my shoulder.
"He is possessed." Lena calmed her baby and then quickly put her back in a crib. "Do you think this is why the Karuts didnít want him?"
"He's not possessed," I insisted, burping my little friend. "He's sweet." He patted my face with his hand while looking out across my back.
Lena looked at me warily. "It is strange though."
"It is," I agreed. "But they are kind of beautiful too." Surely if he was possessed, we would know that somehow. I might have to ask the Father about that but I hated speaking with the Father. He always wanted favors and his breath was bad and his old skin was wrinkled and made my own skin crawl.
I changed Senya and put him in one of our shirts. I was about to put socks on his little feet when I was stopped short.
"Lena, can you come here?"
She approached with narrow eyes. I held up a little foot. Senya reached for it too.
"Look at his nails," I said. "Why are they like this?" Gingerly, Lena touched them. She visibly shivered. Senya played with his toes. He put one in his mouth and sucked on the long curled nail.
"We should dispose of him," she said.
"Dispose?" I cried.
"Throw him out in the gutter before Öbefore..."
"Before what? You mean to kill him?"
"No, no," she walked away. "Maybe send him to the Karuts. I have a bad feeling about him."
"Will you tell the Father?"
Lena turned and looked into my eyes. She nodded slowly.
"Don't hurt this baby," I begged. "Let me take care of him."
"I have a very bad feeling about him," she repeated and her wimple nearly fell off as she shook her head. "Something is wrong about him."
"I promise, Sister. Please let me care for him. If he turns out to be bad, then I'll help you get rid of him. Don't turn him out now and don't tell the Father."
"What will you do for me if I agree?" she asked, lifting her head haughtily.
"What do you want?"
"All the diapers," she said. "All the time."
I looked down at Senya. He smiled at me and when he opened his eyes they sparkled. "Okay," I agreed, falling in love with this strange little fellow. "I will do anything to save little Senya."
I was strange too. My back was crooked and my face was scarred. I was ugly even though I wasn't always. Once I was a beautiful young girl who nice boys would ask to dance and nice girls would chat up. Once I went to school and got high marks in Mishnese and literature and fair marks in math and science. Then my step father wanted me and when I refused he pushed me down the stairs and broke my back. As I lay crumpled, he set my clothes on fire. The Saint saved me and after I was healed, I came here to love other children who no one wanted anymore.
Senya loved me, I thought. He greeted me every day with a smile. He didnít speak. He didnít even make noise but he stood in his crib and waved at me and his silver eyes sparkled. Everyone else he ignored. He sat in the corner of his crib sucking his fingers or lay on his back and played with his strange toes.
The Father came to look at him. "How much was in the purse?" he asked Sister Moon. She told him and we all gasped as it was such a large sum. It would feed everyone in this house for a year. "Will there be more?" the Father wondered aloud.
"I think so," Sister Moon replied. "For as long as we keep him."
Outstandingly entertaining; couldn't stop thinking about it
This book grabbed my attention. I was into the lives of the characters and into the story; I thought about at night, on the way to work, and while cooking dinner. The author developed the story so well and I cared about the characters. This was different, unexpected events, unexpected territory and very very good. I HAVE to read more by this author!
Read until 4 AM to finish it
You are going to love this book! It's been a long time sense I enjoyed fantasy, Syfy as much as I did with this book. I liked the people and the story line and I am getting Book 2 and 3 today. I look forward to seeing how the author brings the Senya and Katie together. This a series that I will read.
I just won't stay up until 4 AM to finish it.
What a great book READ
I really enjoyed this book. This book renewed my love of the fantasy genre.I had just finished the "Hunger Trilogy" and feeling a little let down. This book is the opposite. It has everything you want in a book; politics, drama; the unexpected and love. The characters are developed so you feel you have a stake in what happens to them. Just when you wonder what happened to a past character there they are again in the story adding more "flavor" to this stew of intrique. I just finished book 1 and purchased the next 2 just so I can continue uniterrupted. ENJOY.
PS started book 2 last night and stayed up until late just to get to a point I could take a breath. This book promises to be even better than the 1st one.!!!!