Elsewhere, wrongfully imprisoned Sentinel Jorah Caldwell receives a supernatural visitor, who hails Jorah as Boh-Dabar, the prophesied Word to Come. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger arrives at the sanctuary world, also claiming to be Boh-Dabar.
Soon, a tangle of interstellar incidents threatens the Sentinel kindred's very existence. And no one--anywhere--has anticipated the events that will shake the interstellar Federacy.
In the Firebird alternate universe, humankind has gone to the stars. The messianic bloodline has been genetically altered, and instantaneous communication links the settled worlds. Still, God's character has not changed, nor have his promises failed. Daystar brings the saga to a conclusion that rocks the galaxies.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Body, relax. Mind, be still. I fear what I only imagine.
Meris Cariole sprinted up an empty passway and shifted her internal focus to a more powerful Collegium litany. She must not dwell on the danger. Mind, you are calm. Body, you are strong.
A falsely tranquil, androgynous voice drifted down from the bulkhead: "Passengers, report to shelter area. Please walk. Do not endanger yourself or others by running. Passengers, report ..."
She careened around a corner and was absorbed by a crowd plodding along in soft shipboard slippers. A green light flashed up ahead. Someone shouted. Heads turned right and vanished through a hatch. Breathing hard, Meris let the flow carry her through the doorway.
The secure cabin was barely adequate for thirty passengers, as she'd learned in yesterday's shelter drill. Grey metal containers lined the bulkheads. Ventilation fans hummed softly, but it smelled close anyway. Blue striplights high overhead cast an eerie light on stressed faces. Since nearly everyone on board the Daystar could speak mind-to-mind, it seemed weirdly quiet. She'd gotten used to people around her acting strangely, cocking their heads or staring as if listening to voices she couldn't hear. In this moment, it felt freshly ominous.
She paused just inside the door, heart thumping. Where was Annalah?
She spun around. Several people knelt around something down on the deck, including her college room-partner Annalah Caldwell. Annalah straightened and waved. "Meris!"
Meris guided on Annalah's coppery hair and a glimpse of something redder — blood? — as she shouldered between two older people. "Med student. Let me through." Was Annalah hurt? They might all die of radiation, but maybe not — and here was an immediate crisis.
A youngster lay on the textured black deck, a boy of maybe ten or eleven. Face shocky, blood spurting from his thigh. Jagged bone poked through his pant leg. Meris swallowed, her throat suddenly thick. Fractures weren't her school specialty, nor Annalah's. Still, that bleeding had to be stopped, and there was no medspec on this shuttle's passenger manifest. She shoved aside her fear of radiation as she reached the group. Swiftly twisting her hair into a rope, she knotted it at the back of her neck. "Tell me what to do. Is there a styptix kit?"
"I just sent for ... Here it comes!"
Annalah's river of red hair was already tied back. "Simple fracture, thank the Holy One." Annalah scooted aside, and a man wearing a midnight blue uniform tunic wedged himself into the kneeling circle and sank down. He pushed a red metal container at Annalah. Annalah plunged both hands into the box and tossed Meris a sterile wipe. Then she went back to digging.
The injured youngster whimpered. A black-haired woman knelt beside him, gripping his hand and trying to turn his head away. She plainly didn't want him to look at the ugly injury. Since he wasn't screaming, she probably was doing something mental against his pain too.
Or maybe not. Meris scrubbed her hands with the wipe, wondering how in the starry Whorl a child could have broken a femur in this small space. High above this deck, the stacked containers looked climbable. Had he been playing up there?
If he hadn't been lying there bleeding, she might have envied his freedom. She focused on the moment's need instead, eyeing her room-partner's progress. Step one always was to treat for shock. Someone had covered him with a grey blanket. Next, stop bleeding — would they need a tourniquet? No, Annalah had a stypix kit. Third, reduce the fracture. That would be next.
Actually, it was good to think about something other than having her chromosomes cooked. Femoral fractures required major traction. It looked like they would have plenty of strong help.
Still, that looked like a lot of blood. Meris addressed the black-haired woman holding the boy's hand. She couldn't be many years out of school herself. These Sentinels married so young! "Can you do anything special to slow down that bleeding too? It looks like the bone nicked an artery."
"Wait!" Annalah donned pale blue exam gloves. "This should do it." She tucked a hand into the wound, spread its edges, tucked some tiny objects inside, and sprinkled white powder. Welling blood crusted rapidly.
Absorbable sponges, styptix powder — just like in school at Elysia Central.
Except this time, they were light-years from Elysia and about to be bathed in hard radiation —
Don't think about that! Meris commanded herself. Mind, you are calm. Body, you are strong.
Annalah hadn't stopped talking. "They can't put him in t-sleep until the fracture's reduced. He might need to be transfused too." She dug deeper into the red box. "Marta, Kason, one of you might need to donate."
"Of course." A man kneeling beside the black-haired woman nodded, his face almost as pale as the child's.
"All right." Annalah straightened. "We'll try the reduction. I want our biggest and strongest holder on his shoulders. Kason, you don't weigh enough. Take the uninjured leg. Marta, keep cutting his pain." She looked around the circle.
Meris did too. "Come on. Move. Somebody heavy, take the shoulders. One hand under each arm."
The others rearranged themselves. Meris scooted into a position opposite Annalah, careful not to jostle the patient. The black-haired woman sprang up and made room for a burly man wearing snug grey shipboards. Really, it was impressive how these people rallied together.
She mustn't envy them either.
"Okay." Annalah glanced left, then right. "Count of three. One." The burly man leaned forward. "Two." The father and another man tightened their hands around the boy's ankles. "Three. Pull!"
Meris closed both hands around the leg just below the break. She must angle the broken end toward his pelvis ... Someone cried out, close by ... Annalah would push and manipulate the upper stub ... Once the injured leg muscles were pulled taut, releasing pressure from the femur, those bone ends ought to move easily ... She felt disoriented, trying to aim one jagged end toward the other....
There! A distinct relaxing of muscle tension. Annalah had rejoined the ends. "Don't stop pulling," Meris ordered the traction team. "I'll anchor. Annalah, how's the artery?"
"Bleeding's stopped. Getting ready to fuse and brace it." Annalah reached into the kit again. "You're doing great, Rex. Just another minute."
Meris relaxed slightly. With standard shipboard med gear, they should be able to immobilize the break. Then, these people could ... they could make sure he rested.
She shied away from that thought and kept both hands firm on the crusted wound, one above and one below the break. The child's face had relaxed, showing no sign of pain. They hadn't used a drop of anesthetic, and his nerves ought to be screaming. The black-haired woman's mind powers were obviously strong. Shortly, his father would put him into ... into tardema-sleep. After all, there were no stasis crypts on board.
A sweat droplet trickled down Meris's temple. As if traveling in tandem, a tear dribbled along her nose. How ironic that these strange and unpopular people had such caring families.
Annalah leaned in again, brandishing an osteo fusion light like a weapon. She trained it over the wound for half a minute. Meris kept her hands steady. Annalah slid the metal bands of a Ramsey brace around the injured boy's leg. "Hold on," she muttered, closing the brace's first latch. "Almost done."
Meris's shoulders ached. Still, she'd seen worse fractures at Elysia General. The boy would be fine, provided they all didn't die here in deep space, cooked by radiation or smeared across space like so many bloodstains, if the slip-shields failed —
Body, relax. Mind, be still.
"Okay." Annalah gave the Ramsey brace a last click of pressure, and she reached into the red box once more to pull out a palm-size scanner. "Blood pressure's low, but he's within normal range. All right for t-sleep, Kason."
Meris backed away hastily.
The young father leaned across his son's body. "Rex. Eyes here."
The boy looked up. He inhaled a long breath and coughed once. Then he lay utterly still.
Tardema-sleep. In memory, Meris heard her physiology professor: "Tardema-sleep is a unique variety of deep hibernation, almost as quiescent as cold stasis. The procedure is never recommended for normal individuals, except in situations where death is otherwise inevitable and imminent. Non-Sentinels have been known to die in tardema-sleep. Conventional cold stasis is nearly always available."
Cold stasis was Meris's medical specialty. It wasn't available here, though. She got to her feet and backed away, trying to keep her crusted hands from touching anyone and hoping the Sentinels hadn't sensed how badly tardema-sleep unnerved her. This time, she guessed, they were listening to their own fears. Not hers.
Annalah flung her a wiping cloth.
"Thanks." Motion mid-cabin caught Meris's eye. A small, grey-haired woman sidled toward her, carefully stepping over and around passengers who'd sat down on the deck. Meris hadn't given any of them a moment's thought. Annalah's grandmother, the High Commander's wife, looked like an aged little bird under the striplights. Maybe it was the blue light's reflection in her bright eyes, or the way it shimmered in her hair as she cocked her head to one side. She had admitted that "Lady Fi," as these people called her, was a shortened form of "Firebird."
She was one of exactly three people in this secure room with no Sentinel powers, which had made her an instant friend. Meris had already enjoyed talking Federate politics and culture with her.
She reached Meris. "Anything I can do?" She shot a glance toward Annalah. "Looks like you two controlled the crisis very competently."
Meris stretched her aching shoulders. "Thanks. His dad just put him into ... t-sleep." She avoided saying tardema. The very word repelled her. Thank goodness Lady Fi wouldn't be able to read her mind or emotions.
The Lady's loose grey shipboards blended with her hair. Here and there, a faint streak of its former reddish brown shade shone through the silver. These people didn't use anti-aging implants, so their elders looked old. "I think your parents would have been proud, if they could have watched that."
"Oh." Meris gave her hands a final hard wipe and tossed the cloth back to Annalah, who tucked it into a debris bag. "No." She took a deep breath. "No, they still wouldn't approve. Inferior minds can set bones, they'd say."
Lady Fi cocked an eyebrow. "Even your mother? She's a —"
"She's a researcher, not a practicing medspec."
"Hmm." Something clattered near the main door. Frowning, Lady Fi turned around. Nothing else happened over there, and she faced Meris again. "I know how badly that hurts, Meris. Move on. Your future lies along a different path. Someday, they'll understand you."
Meris doubted that Lady Fi grasped the depth of her private pain. Surely, no one else in the history of the Whorl had ever been so thoroughly betrayed. By her own parents, no less!
Lady Fi looked straight up into her eyes. "We all admire you for wanting to help people, Meris."
Meris glanced away. "Wasn't it supposed to be safe, crossing this region of space?" No world near Sabba Six-alpha was settled, but commercial shuttles traveled it regularly.
"Of course." There was more noise near the door, and this time the uniformed door guard beckoned toward Lady Fi.
Lady Fi nodded. "Excuse me. Please tell Annalah we're proud of you both." She turned carefully and stepped back in the direction she'd come from.
Meris flicked a wisp of hair out of her face. Lady Fi's husband was up on the bridge, taking the worst of the radiation storm. For Lady Fi, waiting to learn his fate would be awful.
Someone moved on Meris's other side. She too turned in place, careful not to step on outstretched hands or legs. Other people were mopping the deck and tossing cloths into the debris bag. The boy and his parents had retreated into a corner. Meris spotted Annalah springing up to take a seat on a large, grey metal container. It looked as if people had made enough room for them both up there.
Very well, then. Meris shuffled forward. Was she imagining things, or did she feel slightly strange, as if radiation were washing through her? Or was that simply the normal buzz of slip-shields, turning everything onboard sideways to real space?
She made it to the inner row of containers and sprang up to sit beside her room-partner. "Your grandmother says to tell you she's proud of us."
"Thanks." Annalah smiled for an instant. Her long, waving red hair still was tied back, and the prominent widow's peak over her forehead, her delicate cheekbones, and her fine chin made her face look oddly heart-shaped. "Has she had any updates?"
"Not yet. She could be getting one right now." Over by the door, Lady Fi conferred with the door guard. The cabin still seemed unnaturally quiet. Meris wouldn't have wanted to travel with these people, except that Annalah had offered passage — gratis! — to Tallis for their practicum year. It had seemed like a stellar solution to her sudden financial squeeze.
And her father, the senator, had liked the political implications well enough to answer her query. He'd written back, "You never know what you might learn from them, before they die out."
But he had not sent love. He hadn't wished her a safe trip or shown any other sign of affection. To him, she was already dead. Her chest ached, as if someone had stepped on it. Fear and grief were getting the upper hand again. Polluting her thoughts. Mind, you are calm ...
Abruptly Annalah rocked forward off the container. "We should be praying." She raised an arm and started to sing. Meris didn't recognize the language or the weird, vaguely minor key. The woman sitting on Meris's other side joined in. So did the parents of the injured boy. He now lay perfectly still in the nearby corner.
Meris frowned and scooted back on the container, resting her shoulders against the hard metal behind her. She had no prejudices. She was liberal-minded enough to know that these people really weren't the abominations that some people called them. Still, that music had all the comforting quality of a sob. If they all didn't die in the next few minutes, she'd teach them some Collegium litanies. She had dozens of them filed on her handheld.
Stars swam in front of her eyes. Hyperventilation. Body, relax —
The overhead light faded to orange and winked out.
Meris gasped. The big engines' thrum sounded loud in her ears.
Had they lost shields? Was this the end?
Body, relax. Mind, be still. Body, relax —
The fans started again. Striplights came back on, dimmer than before, giving upturned faces a darker blue cast. The left wall seemed to have sunk. The ship must have been turning hard this whole time.
Near the doorway, the man in the uniform tunic still leaned toward the wall panel. What was he hearing?
He turned toward the cabin's center. "Attention." He didn't raise his voice, but he did speak aloud. "Daystar has lost some onboard systems. However, shields and life support are intact."
A young voice cheered. Heads turned, clothing rustled. Meris shut her eyes as relief fluttered through her veins.
The door guard crossed his arms. "They're requesting that any of you who can t-sleep would please do so. They're going to try and get us down out of slip-state in ten or twelve hours. We do have adequate onboard air for that length of time, plus passage afterward. Still, we'd like to retain a safety margin."
Tardema-sleep! Meris didn't dare look at Annalah. It would save oxygen if they all tardema-slept, but surely they wouldn't make her risk it. It was safe for them.
"Please," she whispered to Annalah. "I'd rather not."
"Of course not. They'll be glad to have one of us conscious, since there isn't a real medspec this trip. I'll see you when we get ... wherever we end up."
Meris straightened, not particularly reassured. Would they finish this trip stranded on some low-tech Federate world? Who would fly the Daystar if everyone on the bridge succumbed to radiation poisoning?
Annalah stretched out atop the container. Meris scooted down onto the deck. She pulled off her slippers and the pullover she wore over her shipboard suit, wrapped them together, and made a lumpy pillow.
Straightening carefully, she lay down. She never would be able to sleep, but at least she wouldn't have to make small talk with strangers. She could concentrate on her litanies.
The woman who'd been sitting next to Annalah leaned over her, covered Annalah's forehead with a hand, and stared down at her face.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Daystar"
Copyright © 2012 Kathy Tyers.
Excerpted by permission of Third Day Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have been reading Kathy's books since I discovered the Firebird series in high school. To have her conclude this truly epic saga with Daystar is satisfying to say the least. In Daystar, Kathy's strengths as a writer truly shine, while also venturing into more speculative ground. In a universe where mankind has developed space travel before the coming of the Messiah, the alternate history developed by Kathy is both thought-provoking and well rounded. With Daystar being a more ensemble cast (of old characters and new!), this was still a well developed character story with fast paced plotting and marvelous conclusions. Her depiction of an alternate Jesus-timeline were both satisfying and challenging. Possibly the only sour note is that this is the last book in the series -- and after spending years with these characters, saying goodbye is bittersweet. I would highly recommend the Firebird series to Kathy. She doesn't disappoint, even to the very end.
Kathy Tyers has once again created a meaningful, fascinating adfition (conclusion?) To the Firebird series. Compelling, and Beautifully done!
Daystar by Kathy Tyers definitely touches a spiritual cord, while taking the reader on a fast paced adventure to unknown galaxies. Even at a daunting 650 pages, the story maintained a great pace and was engaging throughout. There was enough pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo (which Sci-fi writers are famous for) to make the story seem plausible, yet not so much to overwhelm the reader. Her attention to detail was amazing (perhaps one reason for the length of the book) and her descriptions were very visual. Included in the book is a wide cast of characters that were very well developed and the story line was complex. There was romance, intrigue, sabotage - everything to make the book interesting. The book is a Biblical allegory, there is no doubt about that. Although this was fairly obvious early on in the reading, there were enough surprises and imaginative ways of presenting the analogies, that it remained fresh and unpredictable.
Kathy Tyers outdoes herself in this thrilling conclusion to the Firebird series. I just discovered this speculative scifi saga last year, and I've fallen head-over-heels in love with it! Kathy brings her characters to life, they are very real with strengths, fears, flaws, and faiths of their own. In Daystar, set around twenty years after Wind and Shadow, the Whorl is becoming increasingly unstable for the Sentinels and their kindred. They are feared and abhorred, despite their many years of service. In fact, many outsiders believe that the galaxy would be better off without them, period. Many personal struggles come to light in the turmoil; young Collegiate follower Meris Cariole finds herself stranded on the Sentinel's world, an unwilling outsider despite their welcome. Spiritually isolating herself, she does everything she can to avoid the attention of these telepathic people. Meanwhile, Jorah Caldwell, following his father's disobedience to their superior officer, is imprisoned for insubordination. During the time spent alone, he is visited by a shimmery apparition, which hails him as the Boh-Dabar. Is it true? Yet another mysterious stranger has appeared at the Sanctuary, Tavkel, who claims to be the prophecied one. Who's telling the truth? Daystar is a magnificent addition to the series, both satisfying and bittersweet. It's the end of a journey for both readers and characters alike; anyone who loves Kathy Tyer's writing will definitely love this exciting novel. I couldn't put it down, and finished it within twenty-four hours. This book is worth six out of five stars.